Monday, August 31, 2015

Build One Another Up

By Melanie Rigney

For God did not destine us for wrath, but to gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live together with him. Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do. (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11)

I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13)

In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out in a loud voice, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down in front of them and came out of him without doing him any harm. (Luke 4:33-35)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
Lord, thank You for the souls you place in my path that remind me of Your goodness here on earth.

I needed to make a change. The situation had provided joy and support off and on for years, but the time had come to change. And, as you know, change, even for the right reasons, is difficult. I prayed on it. I discussed it in vague terms with a close friend. But I dallied, looking for a sign, halfway hoping it wouldn’t come.

Then in the early spring, a cousin whom I hadn’t heard from for years other than Christmas cards started a daily email exchange with me. We wrote about family memories, illnesses, rock and roll… and faith. It didn’t take long for her notes to be a big part of my daily formation.

About six weeks later, I was leaving a retreat when a fellow retreatant, who knew nothing of all this, said the Lord had a message for me: He desired that I move to a higher slope. I thought a lot about that on the long ride home. I made the change, hard as it was, starting the next day. That was nearly four months ago, and with God’s grace, I’m still on track, bolstered by time with my confessor.

Since that time, I’ve emailed just twice with the fellow retreatant. As for my cousin—she died in July.

I tell you all this not to get a bunch of “atta-girl” responses or to hold myself up as some poster child of virtue. I tell you this because, as Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, encouraging and building each other up is a big part of living with and seeing Christ in this world and preparing for the next. Often, our most important ministries are to those we love and see every day. But every once in a while, that love and support and building up comes from complete strangers or from people we seldom see. May we recognize His goodness in all of them—and reflect it where we’re called to.

As you go about your day, make a list of the people who encourage you. Pray for them this evening.

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