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I liked Pastor Ray Ortlund’s column at Desiring God. Titled “The Surprising Ministry of Encouragement,” he makes a very valid point in noting that he’s never encountered someone who was suffering from a lack of encouragement.
In light of all the stress and nonsense that people have had to endure in 2021, combined with the politics of a presidential election, everyone’s mood seems to be on edge. Encouragement is desperately needed.
“Encouragement is what the gospel feels like as it moves from one believer to another. The ministry of encouragement, therefore, isn’t optional or just for people with a knack for it,”Orlund wrote. “Real encouragement has authority over us all. It deserves nothing less than to set the predominant tone of our churches, our homes, our ministries.”
He makes a very good point that encouragement is about the life-giving power of our shared beliefs and our shared life in the Lord.
Yet, thanks to the policies implemented by churches in response to COVID, many small groups and large-scale ministries, like men’s ministry, have forsaken the command in Hebrews 10:25 to “not give up meeting together.” In fact, we could argue that many Christians have given up that habit entirely.
I know I have. Online meetings just aren’t cutting it for me. They are not nearly as powerful as face-to-face contact.
“The ministry of encouragement is surprising, captivating, energizing. It does require effort and intentionality, but it also leaves us feeling exhilarated and uplifted,” Orlund wrote. “Is that how we walk out of our churches on a typical Sunday: exhilarated and uplifted?”
It’s a good question.
I need to be far more intentional about encouraging others and letting them enjoy the hope I have thanks to my relationship with Jesus.
Pastor Orlund’s complete column can be found at Desiring God.