This week a young couple that recently moved to our city to serve God had a child. They came with little but trusted God would provide whatever they needed to share His truths. This couple are not finically irresponsible nor are they avaricious in their desires. They needed a crib and other supplies and did not ask anyone but God. Someone noticed how little they had and word spread that they needed some baby furniture. Brothers and sisters prayed for them but also gave what they could; they responded as Christ expected. The husband recently shared that he and his wife had prayed for God’s provisions and later that day an anonymous Christian family gave them $1000.00 for their baby’s needs. I didn’t tell this story to communicate that when we pray with the right motives God provides, although that is true. This story is about how Christian brothers and sisters are necessary for the encouragement and support of the body of Christ.
While imprisoned, and in chains, Paul wrote a letter to Philemon telling him about the joy and encouragement he felt because of Philemon’s faithful walk. Paul recognized that the actions of Philemon were doing much to help other followers live for Christ and Paul commended him for that. The book of Philemon isn’t the only book where Paul writes about the need for followers to encourage and support each other. Many of his letters contain similar sentiments. He wrote these words not because they sound nice or polite but because Paul understood that God created us to live in harmonious relationship with each other, a relationship that is very difficult outside Christian community and sadly often lacking within it. Jesus’ direction to go and make disciples of all nations teaching them His truth was also part of His message of loving our neighbours. We tend to think He was only speaking about reaching the unsaved however He was also guiding us to interact with others followers. His messages often expressed what should be happening in Christian community. They highlighted the fact His truth and love is what binds the Church and shows the world what Christ’s love can do to people.
We pray for those who do not know Jesus as their saviour and must continue to do so. But, don’t forget about those who have already made the decision to be a follower; they also need our love and support. Our actions and words put a smile on their hearts and remind them that God has created something special. When people unselfishly bring encouragement to the family His church flourishes. The young couple that received the money are truly grateful and were encouraged. Paul shares that the actions and behaviours of brothers and sisters can also go a long way to bring hope to the Christian community.
Can you make a point of sending a note or making a phone call to another brother or sister telling them that you are thankful you are related in Christ? Can you refresh the heart of another follower so that they are reminded there is joy in being a Christian?