Give Thanks by Encouraging
by Ellen Chauvin on November 29th, 2016

[todays image can also be used as a phone lock screen, so download and
share with a friend to let them know you are thankful for them.]

 
We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. 
2 Thessalonians 1:3 ESV

 

Wisps of soft white cotton rolled across the road, blown by the fall breeze. The bank of scruffy weeds along the shoulder acted as a barricade, stockpiling the stray bolls. From a distance, it looked like a small snow drift. Cotton harvest had just ended in central Louisiana, leaving soft, fluffy reminders blown along the roadway.

I certainly never realized seeing cotton bolls strewn along the highway would bring back so many memories. Mama used to tell us stories of the cotton fields and how she worked them as a young girl. My mama was the daughter of a sharecropper in Mississippi. One of her chores was to help pick the cotton bolls during harvest. We joked about her being a cotton-pickin’ cotton picker! But it was hard, hard work, something Mama said she would never do again, if she could help it.

Mama’s daddy had an old mule he would use to help plow up the fields for planting. So many times that old mule would just STOP in the middle of a row. No more plowing. He wouldn’t budge an inch. I suppose he was tired, and decided he would just wait out in the field for someone to unhitch him and take him home to the barn.


In today’s scripture, Paul was addressing the believers in Thessalonica. They were suffering persecution, and wrongly assumed God’s judgement had begun. The result of this incorrect teaching was that many of the believer’s stopped working, and decided to just sit and wait for Christ’s return. Stubborn as a mule, you might say…

Haven’t we all been at this point from time to time? So discouraged and tired we just want to quit? Too overwhelmed to move forward? But then a breath of fresh air will blow in.

Unexpectedly, a friend will thank us or give a kind word of encouragement.

Paul had planted and established this church. He’s thrilled with their spiritual growth, but knew they needed a dose of encouragement. Like a proud parent, he loves on them, inspiring them to action.

I’m so very proud of you! And I’m thankful for you. Your faith is flourishing and growing in leaps and bounds, and you have such a sincere love for one another. I see your love increasing each and every day! What an example you are to other churches. I tell them about you all the time! 


Don’t we all need a little morale-boosting from time to time? Isn’t it uplifting when others come along side us, see our struggles and give us a much needed pat on the back?

 


Don’t we all need a little morale-boosting from time to time? Isn’t it uplifting when others come along side us, see our struggles and give us a much needed pat on the back?

Paul sets the standard for us in this verse. In fact, in his letter to the Corinthian church, Paul tells us to follow his lead.


Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1 NASB


Following Paul’s example, we ought to always thank God for the people He places in our lives. But we need to also thank THEM. In this day and age of lightening speed and short, cryptic text messages, it’s time to stop and let others know how much we appreciate them.  Paul didn’t just send empty compliments to the people of this church. He was specific in telling them why he was thankful for them: He saw their faith flourishing, and their love for one another growing ever greater.

Let’s do the same. With the holidays approaching, I find myself busier than ever. But I need to look beyond my preoccupation and task list, and SEE those around me. I need to offer a word of thanks to them, acknowledging exactly why I am thankful for them.
  •      I appreciate you so much. I know I can always count on you to lift me in prayer.
  •      I’m so proud of all your hard work with this ministry! The way you have taken a leadership role has been a great help!
  •      I love how you share your insights during class. Your participation encourages others to share their thoughts also. This keeps the class moving right along.
Who knows what trials someone might be silently suffering through? Oh, what one small word of encouragement can do to lift a person’s spirits!

Waiting expectantly for Christ’s return shouldn’t be passive. While we wait, we can actively pour into others, cheering them, boosting their morale and supporting them. It’s building up the body of Christ, not tearing it down. It’s showing the love of Jesus to a hurt and dying world. It’s imitating Christ and glorifying God. And it could be the catalyst that spurs someone to action!

Who can you thank and encourage today? Thanksgiving may be over, but our thank you’s can continue to give.


Oh, Lord, how thankful I am for the friends and family you have placed in my life. Father, open my eyes to see and be thankful for those around me. Give me Your words to encourage them and build them up. In the mighty name of Jesus, Amen.

​Blessings Soul Friends,
​Today's blog is part of our #SoulDeep Scripture Reading Series : #EverydayThanksgiving

Ellen Chauvin
​I met Jesus Christ as my Savior when I was 11 years old.  I met Him as my Redeemer as a young woman, learning to lean into Him! Today, He is redeeming my years of wilderness wandering.  He has blessed me with a wonderful husband, beautiful grandchildren and a life of service to Him!

Connect with Ellen on her blog at ​www.ellenchauvin.com


Posted in Soul Deep Scripture    Tagged with #EverydayThanksgiving, 2 Thessalonians, encourage


1 Comments

Kristine - November 29th, 2016 at 6:10 PM
Oh Ellen, how often I am stubborn just like that mule! Thank the Lord for encouragement from others. Love this post, sweet friend!
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