Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
I call it the “lean to green” miracle. It’s happened every spring for more than fifteen years. Coming out of the winter months, the grass in our yard is dusty and brown, so much so, a casual passerby might believe it’s dead. Colorado has snow in the mountains, but the climate on the plains—“the Front Range”—is dry, with most warmer months full of drought warnings. But every year around the end of May, I turn on the sprinklers—not huge amounts of water but simply small, consistent waterings. And in about two weeks, what was dry and brown builds up into something lush and green.
That green grass reminds me how vital encouragement is. Without it, our lives and our faith can resemble something almost lifeless. But it’s amazing what consistent encouragement can do to our hearts, minds, and souls. Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians emphasizes this truth. The people were struggling with anxiety and fear. Paul saw he needed to bolster their faith. He urged them to keep up the good work of encouraging one another and building each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11). He knew that without such refreshment, their faith could wither. Paul experienced this firsthand, for those very same Thessalonian believers had been an encouragement to him, building him up. You and I have the same opportunity to encourage—to help one another bloom and grow.
What’s the most recent encouragement you’ve received? Whose heart could you water today or this week?
Father, thank You for the encouragement I’ve received, and help me to encourage others.
In his first letter to the church at Thessalonica, Paul answered questions about Jesus’ second coming (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18; 5:1–11). He’d preached in the Jewish synagogue in the capital city of Macedonia over a period of three Sabbaths. As a result, many Jews and God-fearing gentiles believed (Acts 17:4). But the apostle’s time with the new converts was cut short when Jewish opponents dragged his host Jason and other Christians before city authorities and charged them with sedition against Caesar (vv. 5–9). Concerned, Paul sent Timothy a few months later (1 Thessalonians 3:1–2, 5). Timothy then met Paul in Corinth (Acts 18:5) and updated him (1 Thessalonians 3:6). The church was doing well but was discouraged because of the persecution they were suffering (vv. 3–4). Moreover, some of the new believers had since died and other church members were confused about Christ’s return (4:13).