Happy Valentines Day
Paul the apostle wrote 1 Thessalonians to the church at Thessalonica in approximately 51 AD from Corinth. This was one of his earliest letters. The church at Thessalonica was very young – 2 or 3 years old. The Thessalonian Christians needed to mature in their faith. In addition there was a misunderstanding concerning Christ’s second coming. Some thought Christ would return immediately; thus they were confused when their loved ones died because they expected Christ to return beforehand. Paul was writing to clear up this misconception and to offer encouragement to the young church.
I invite you to read the entire book 1 Thessalonians (it’s only 5 chapters) or only the final chapter, Chapter 5. We are looking at only one verse here however – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
“Therefore encourage (Greek: parakaleo) one another“. The word parakaleo can mean either comfort or exhort.
This is the same counsel that Paul gave in the last chapter—after assuring these believers that they need not worry about the fate of their loved ones who had died. There he said, “Therefore comfort (parakaleo) one another with these words” (4:18).
“and build (Greek: oikodomeo) each other up“. The Greek word used here, oikodomeo, is usually associated with the building trades—with the construction of a house or a tower or a barn. That sort of thing isn’t accomplished by a single action, but is a process that requires many actions—creating a design, laying a foundation, etc.
So also, believers need to engage in an ongoing process of building each other up—encouraging each other—sharing joys and sorrows—offering blessings of various kinds.
“just as in fact you are doing“ (v. 11c). Paul acknowledges that these Thessalonian believers were already encouraging each other and building each other up. He isn’t calling them to do something new, but rather to continue a process well-begun.
Grabbing a verse out of a whole book can often lead to trouble – but when it comes to encouragement, a little just isn’t enough. Being a man is about poking fun at each other and getting called out for stupid stuff – and we are good at that. But if we as men are to grow in our duty to be a prophet, priest, servant king, provider and protector, we will need other men to provide us with encouragement when we are encountering struggles, trying something new, experiencing success (do more of that) or any number of other situations.
So today, pick out somebody near or far, and communicate to them – call, text, email, facebook post – a specific word of encouragement. Then put a tickler on your calendar to do the same thing next Wednesday to the same person about the same thing.
Who knows, encouragement + God = who knows what.
PS – have a nice day