...as long as it's called today...
I have a friend and coworker who has the gift of encouragement. I've never seen a person that can find the means to encourage others no matter the circumstance. Those that know her know exactly who I'm talking about and know the embrace of her hugs. Me personally, I'm not that great at it, or so I think.
I've been spending some time in Hebrews lately (resisting the urge to make a coffee joke) and was reading in chapter 3 today.
"But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called 'today,' that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." (vs. 13 ESV)
When I read this, like many times in many passages, I think, wow I really need to work on this. As I begin to converse with God about it and I realize I'm not as far off as I think I am. Every couple days, if not daily, I'm sending scripture, prayers, or words of encouragement to members or all of my team. I try very hard to know where they are in life and what they're walking through so that I can pray for and encourage them accordingly.
Now, if you look back, even just a few years ago, this wasn't the case. I'm convinced I will spend the rest of my life learning to love, serve, and encourage others well but I also see the redemptive work of Christ in my own life to bring me to a place of desiring to encourage others. Coming out of the Marines, I was a very cold and distant man. Hardly the type of person you would want to spend much time with unless you were in a fire fight. Encouragement for me was suck it up, keep moving, there's a mission (task) to be accomplished. You don't have to be in student ministry to figure out that doesn't work in student ministry.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation..."
I am that new creation. I see it more and more as I look at the person I was and the person I am. That means the more I'm in Christ, the "newer" I become right? I want to be more like Christ today than I was yesterday. In a year from now I want to be 365 times more like Christ!
I write this not as one who has figured it out or has gotten good at this but as one needing Christ. I'm more of a high five or fist bump encourager to my team rather than a hugger like my friend but I hope my team and my students are encouraged. I hope you are encouraged. Whether you are like me and still learning and figuring this out or my friend who is very gifted in this, press on. There is always hope. So, as long as it is called today encourage one another.