Preparations were well under way for the upcoming Christmas program, costumes had been prepared, songs memorized, promotional material distributed. The elementary children had worked on one specific selection with undeterred effort. It was one tough song, a medley of familiar tunes from Classical composers, all set in a Christmas fantasia highlighting the song, Deck the Halls. From September through December, those little ones strove toward perfection, struggling to learn all those difficult melodies, all while very few folks were aware of the effort they were expending. Then came performance night, and those young singers were awesome, definitely hitting a home run. But what happened afterward was amazing! The parents, grandparents, and guests in attendance, all part of that packed-out audience, cheered for those kiddos, a boisterous, thundering applause for the efforts they had witnessed. I could tell by the look on my somewhat shocked choir that they were surprised and encouraged by the response, as weeks of dedication and hard work melted away into a job well-done.
That simple story highlights an important truth in our Christian walk, we desperately need encouragement from one another. In the Faith Hall of Fame chapter of Hebrews, the writer has that specific purpose in mind as he reviews the lives of those outstanding Old Testament characters. He has a burden to remind his readers, those poor, persecuted Jews of the early church, that a huge crowd of believers had already run the race before them, and they had through faith, won the battle and savored the victory. This “so great a cloud of witnesses” knew both the suffering and the reward, and their example was to motivate these persecuted Jewish Christians to “run with patience the race set” before them.
Many believers lie on the sidelines of this difficult race called the Christian life, discouraged by a seemingly hopeless assignment of walking by faith in a godless society. They desperately need some fortification from those who have been there, survived the struggles, rose above the trials, and triumphed, the likes of Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Joseph…and YOU. I’m reminded of the story of a shepherd boy, David, a man who was destined to be Israel’s greatest king. David had been faithful and loyal to his predecessor, King Saul, but due to Saul’s raging jealousy, David found himself on the run, under the constant threat of death, hiding “in the wilderness,” alone. Then help came from an unexpected source as “Jonathan, Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.” That simple act of encouragement would lift the countenance of this future king and help him over this difficult hurdle in his life.
Someone out there in your sphere of influence needs their hand “strengthened” today. Their strength is waning, the depression is mounting, the urge to quit is overwhelming. A brother or sister in this great arena of believers needs to assure them that victory is close and that the battle is worth the fight. Could you take a moment today and cheer on a struggling believer, encourage a faithful pastor, share your love with a dear friend, compliment a teenager as they strive to live a godly life, or provide some company for a senior saint? YOU may be just what is needed to help that weary soldier get back into the race.
I Thessalonian 5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
Lord, us me to encourage someone around me. Help me to see through Your eyes and lift up a weary soldier, a tired sojourner, a worn-out sufferer. Help me to display Your love and grace in their lives.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-793-6393e176e4590' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=793&origin=wp.blog.blog.grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-793-6393e176e4590' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-793-6393e176e4590' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>