“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Every summer during our anniversary weekend, my home church, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, holds a 5K race. In my third year of seminary, I won the race. The next year, the pressure was on me as the defending champion. The gun went off and we started running up Camp Wisdom Road.
At the midpoint of the race, I found myself in fourth place. Due to a busier schedule that year, I had not trained very much and had also gained some weight since the previous race. I was sweating profusely and my legs felt very heavy. Then, out of the corner of my eye, an SUV began pulling up alongside me. The passenger window rolled down and a familiar voice began calling out my name and encouraging me. It was Dr. Tony Evans. With his encouragement, I didn’t quit — and as a matter of fact, I caught the third-place runner ahead of me and finished in third.
The Christians in Thessalonica were very discouraged. They experienced persecution because of their Christian faith. They lost jobs. They were imprisoned. Some were martyred. So Paul tells them to encourage one another in 1 Thessalonians 5:11. The word “encourage” means to pull up alongside and call out — like Dr. Evans pulling up alongside me and telling me to keep going. Like a cheerleader or coach on the sidelines who pushes you.
Discouragement is rampant in our world. Do you know someone who is discouraged? How can you encourage them today?
— Ikki Soma, Houston Rockets chaplain
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