Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called Today, lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
I remember as a little girl attending the little country church located about two miles from our farm house. Many times, when the weather was nice, we would walk to church, singing all the way. Those are still precious memories, but there are some things that remain more precious to me and those are the testimonies of the people in the congregation after every service.
Oh, I didn’t like those testimonies at the time they were being given. I was young and wanted church to be over. Many times the church was getting cold (not from the Spirit of the Lord, but from the fire going out in the stove that heated the building). I was sleepy and it was late. These people were telling us about God’s goodness and provision for their families and I knew they were all just hard-working people like my family, pinching their pennies. They would tell about His love, His salvation, His watch care and most of all about their home in Heaven with Him when life was over. It all sounded like a fairy tale to me. I had not experienced the forgiveness and love of the Lord, but God knew in my future I would come to know Him as Savior. All those testimonies that these ears of mine were hearing at ten years old, which was seventy years ago now, would someday serve as encouraging words in my future. He was preparing me at the age of ten to live for Him at today at the age of eighty.
The Father knows we are going to face times of difficulty and testing in our walk with Him. He is preparing us for those times by using others to encourage in word or deed. The people He uses may never know they have had an impact on the lives of someone else, but God knows and will someday give a reward to those who have been faithful to be an encourager to others. If you think you are not gifted to do something for the Lord, try sending a card to someone with kind, loving words written inside; go by the nursing home or hospital and speak kindness to one who is lonely; put a smile on your face when you meet others. Small gestures can bring blessings to so many. The cost is minimal and the rewards are immeasurable.
Those elderly people giving their testimonies in that old, cold church building had no idea they were playing a part in a little ten year old girl’s walk with the Lord. They did not know that they were providing encouragement to me as I walked with Him in my sunset years, but God knew. Isn’t it wonderful to know that we have a heavenly Father who is ordering our footsteps and is preparing the way for us even before we start our journey?
Let us not be ashamed when we stand before the Lord and see all the failed opportunities that were given to us to be an encourager and we passed them by. Encouragement is a gift that all have been given but few take advantage of because it is usually done in stillness with only the Lord looking on. I had rather know the Lord was taking notice of me rather than people because His rewards are for eternity.
Father, help me to be a witness of encouragement through my testimony of the goodness, grace and mercy of our Savior.