For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother. – Philemon 1:7
Paul, though appearing at times to be a renegade “loner” in ministry, was anything but. While it is obvious that he could not succeed (or even survive) apart from the Lord’s consistently abiding presence, Paul also desperately needed the encouragement of Christian brothers and sisters to remain strong in the ministry. His first real friend in God’s service was Barnabas who was named such simply because of his strong gift of encouragement.
Like the apostle Paul, we all need encouragers; those who cheer us on when we’re doing well, but also challenge us when we need to change. The best friends are those who do both. Look for the best in people and do your best to fan that “spark” into a flame. If, on the other hand, the fire that burns is destructive, then help your friend put it out.
For many, inside and outside the “family,” it is a day of great discouragement. May we all in the same way be encouragers, refreshing the hearts of the saints at every opportunity.
Virtues are acquired through endeavor, which rests wholly upon yourself. So, to praise others for their virtues can but encourage one’s own efforts. – Thomas Paine
Dr. David Pope is President and Founder of POPE Initiatives, a non-profit organization committed to providing executive-level management and support services for major global mission efforts.
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