A brief encouraging word…
Hi everyone! Pastor Steph here, back from a staycation. It was relaxing – sorta. Honestly, it can be hard to fully relax these days. Like you, I feel a constant low-grade stress from all that’s going on, which leads to a constant low-grade weariness. Add to that the worry and grief within some of our church families, and it is totally normal to feel weary. So today I offer us all a brief word from scripture:
1 Thessalonians 5:10-21 (portions) New Living Translation
10 Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. 11 So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
12-13 Dear brothers and sisters… live peacefully with each other. 14 Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. 15 See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.
16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 19 Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. 20 Do not scoff at prophecies, 21 but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.
In this scripture, Paul is aware that the people he’s speaking to are tired, discouraged, and afraid. So much difficulty was present in their lives that they just kinda wanted the end of the world to come already. Paul, in the verses before these, wrote to them about how that might happen, and about how nobody knows when it will happen. Then, Paul tells them that since it isn’t time for the end of the world in this present moment, they (& we) should keep on going.
Then, Paul tells us how, and it is very instructive for all of us. However weary we might feel, we are to: Encourage one another. Love and live in peace. Push those who are stuck and calm those who are stressed. Do good, even if someone else does evil. Be joyful. Pray. Do not dissolve the Holy Spirit. Seek out goodness and turn away from evil.
In other words, we are to live as though Heaven has already come, for in truth, it has. While life is far from heavenly perfect, there Are inbreakings of Heaven in our world, even today. Look for them. Feed them. Share them. Live as we hope we might someday in eternal Heaven, for the same God who will call us there is calling us here, and now.
May you be blessed with the inbreaking of Heaven today, and may you share it with someone who needs it tomorrow.