Mutual Words Of Comfort

Sipping the cold drinks and feeling the Spring breeze was refreshing. Two old friends sitting outside at the small town Sonic. A few months preceding our conversation my friend had experienced the death of his wife of more than 50 years. He shared that through many years of ministry he had stood among hundreds of families and expressed the hope found in 1 Thessalonians 4. I will never forget the look in his eyes as he said with confident assurance, “Terry, all those things I told them work!”

F.B. Meyer outlines the comforting words of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 this way:

  1. Those who die in Christ are with Him.
  2. Those who die in Christ will come with Him.
  3. Those who die in Christ shall be forever reunited with us who wait for Him and them.

These are words of comfort to those experiencing grief at the graveside of a loved one. They are valuable when we hear them coming from someone preaching a funeral message. They strengthen us when others reach out to us when someone close to us dies.

But we should not limit words of comfort to such times, nor hear them only from preachers.

The Bible calls for continual, mutual comforting, not occasional sermons from a solo preacher. The phrase “comfort one another with these words” in verse 18 carries the construction of a command that is to be habitually carried out. This comforting is to be a long-term commitment to one another and a life habit of those who follow Christ. Our comforting is a mutual ongoing ministry to and from one another.

If we rarely spend time with one another during the week and if the format we employ in weekend worship services focus on those standing on a platform speaking to us, how can this mutual comforting take place? If our small group or simple church gatherings are characterized by one person doing all the talking, where is the mutual aspect of speaking to one another?

In addition to comfort offered at the time of a death, we find encouragement through regular times of gathering together. When we meet together we mutually share words of comfort whenever we remind ourselves of the hope we have in Christ Jesus.

That day, at an outdoor table at a Sonic, two Christian friends met together. I offered comfort to my friend. He brought hope and encouragement to me. We both went away strengthened and comforted because we practiced this one another passage.

Words of hope are not to be confined only to the words of pastors. They are to be mutually spoken to one another. Our simple churches, small groups and cell groups are great places for this to happen.

Look for ways this week to give and find encouragement and comfort.

Grace and Peace,

Terry

5 Ways To Encourage One Another

There are at least 30 different scripture passages in the epistles that use the words encourage, encouraged or encouragement. The Bible does not turn a deaf ear to the pressures of life. Our need for encouragement springs from the day to day pressures and the brokenness of the world in which we live.

Listen to these verses:

Therefore encourage each other with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:18 NIV)

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV)

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:13 NIV)

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25 NIV)

If encouraging one another is such a prominent topic in scripture, how can you do a better job?

Here are 5 ways you can encourage brothers and sisters in Christ:

  1. Write a note or an email – share something that can be held saved
  2. Call on your phone – let them hear your voice
  3. Help the hurting – do something to relieve the pressure
  4. Practice the power of presence – be there
  5. Tell people how they have encouraged you – build people up

It’s time to be a doer of the word. Don’t read this and forget about it. Do something today to encourage someone.

Do you have any other ideas or tips to help us encourage one another? Join the conversation and share them with us.

Grace and Peace,

Terry

Related Posts:

What can a 12 year old boy bring to a church gathering? How about a trombone?

He’s in his first year of band and has only been playing the trombone for 8 months. He was practicing for a solo piece for his next band concert and his dad suggested that he play the song at one of our church meetings. He agreed.

On Sunday he brought his trombone and his dad brought some words he had put together to sing with the song. Together they presented the music and we sang along. It was a great experience.

He said that every time he plays the piece, he now thinks about the words that his dad helped him put to music. The church will do life together with this family when we go to his band concert. We will think of those words too, as we sing in our hearts.

The church was edified, the boy was encouraged, a father and son bonded. . .

What other insights do you find in this story that relates to the family of God?

Grace and Peace,

Terry

Encourage Someone Today

Encourage One AnotherIf we look, we will see people all around us who need encouragement. Here are 4 types of people who need encouragement:

  1. Those who are not aware of their value and potential
  2. Those who are exhausted and frazzled
  3. Those just beginning their journey with Jesus
  4. Those who are discouraged and want to give up

Are you involved enough with other people enough to know when they need encouragement?

What will you do?

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV

Grace and Peace,

Terry

When They Didn’t Come

Cheese PartyLeaning forward in her chair as tears welled up in her eyes she shared the hurt of the previous day. We had prayed with her and shared her hopes, so it was our hurt as well. Except for her church friends, only one other person came.

The birthday party for her preschool son was to be more than just a party. She had hoped that it would bring two relational groups together – her church friends and her friends who don’t follow Christ. She longed to see the two groups mingle. To see new friendships established. To let her fellow Christ followers join her in the harvest.

Her pain was not for her son. He had a great time doing life with his simple church family. The presents were plenteous and the cake delicious. The laughter and fellowship flowed like birthday punch. We had a great time – but they didn’t come.

What did we do?

Sitting with her, we identified with her hurt. She shared her pain and we encouraged her. We committed to keep on working.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9 NIV

We like to share our victories and shy away from our disappointments. But we can learn a lot from those difficult times.

Grace and Peace,
Terry