“Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
I remember him cheering from the bleachers.
James’ full throttled, all-encompassing, top-of-the-lungs, hooting and hollering were legendary whenever any of his family or friends were anywhere near the field or court. Oblivious to all distractions and decorum, our son stood, raised his voice, and let out his own brand of boisterous applause.
Born to affect others for good, James combined his zeal for sports and his exuberant love for others in booming cheers on their behalf. Jacqui’s layups, Bill’s three-pointers, Greg’s passing, Ryan’s blocking, Zander’s play – all of it mattered exponentially to him. These people whom he loved dearly were worthy of side-line encouragement to ensure they kept going, kept trying, and stayed in the game.
James’ exuberance for the competition was matched by his unbridled love for others. I imagine he made God smile big.
This little boy reminds us of a big truth, a solid biblical principal that God values. “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as in fact you are doing…And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works…That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love”(1 Thessalonians 5:11, Hebrews 10:24, Colossians 2:2).
Do you have the expertise of an incredible cook with the gift of hospitality? Do you have an eye for color and design? Are you a carpenter, a thinker, a teacher, a gardener? Use your particular gifting like a megaphone to build others up, strengthening and applauding them from the sidelines and the frontlines and the back of the line. Influence others for great good by cheering them on with your words, your actions, your flair or strength or gift.
Are you further down the track since that time you scaled the difficult hurdle, fell down, picked yourself up, and finished the course with perspiration and perseverance? Turn around and encourage those in similar situations where the pain is making it difficult for them to believe that God is sufficient. Cheer for those who are heaving, almost out-of-breath, and infuse them with hopeful courage for this part of their race.
Parents are deeply touched whenever they catch a daughter or son caring deeply about a sibling and moving into action to help. God is such a parent. Let’s follow suit and fill his heart with joy when he sees us doing the very same for one of his own who needs a bit of cheering on.
Elizabeth A Mitchell
Photo Credit: Melissa Askew on Unsplash