Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10: 19-25 (NRSV)
Esther MacDonald is from Quebec, Canada. She is involved in two ministries at her church. It's not a large church, and it sometimes seems like a relatively small number of people do most of the work. So it is easy to feel underappreciated and unsupported. Esther was feeling this way recently and was growing increasingly bitter at the idea that so few seem to care about the church's ministries. Then she received a thank-you card expressing gratitude for all her efforts and for her willingness to serve God. That card changed her attitude.
First, it took her eyes off herself and put them where they belong - on God and God's sufficiency. Second, it lifted her lagging spirits. Esther faced her next ministry duties with a vigor she hadn't felt in a while. And third, it reminded her how vital it is to obey Hebrews 10:24. "Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds."
Spurring one another on can be as easy as an encouraging word after church, an email, a card, or a call. It can even be anonymous! A simple "I'm praying for you and the valuable service you are doing for the kingdom of God" can have a huge, positive impact on some's life and faith. Esther knows.
So who can you encourage today - your spouse, a loved one, your child, your neighbor, a church member, or even a stranger?
Prayer: Dear Lord, keep us in tune with the needs of our brothers and sister, and remind us to be generous with our encouragement, in Jesus' name, amen