The Weekly Epistle 5/15/24

Hi Church,
We are all familiar with Murphy’s Law, right?                                                 Any tool dropped while fixing a car will roll underneath to the exact center of the car.

The other line always moves faster than the one you are in.

When you come in late for work, everybody notices; when you work late, nobody notices.

The average time between throwing something away and needing it badly is about two weeks.

The shorter the agenda, the longer the meeting.

When you’re right nobody remembers, when you’re wrong nobody forget.

The last key in the bunch usually opens the lock.

The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach. 

As we just saw in Romans 8 this past Sunday, life can be frustrating at times and even downright maddening! My wife and I have been trying to resolve this issue with a company (that will go unnamed for now), that has been nothing but infuriating. It is exhausting to say the least. Now that is minor compared to the many other hardships in life. Life can be discouraging and if we aren’t’ careful, we can find ourselves being Murphy-like- pessimistic. 

I introduce you to a man named Joseph, who had an awesome nickname. It says in Acts 4:36 that his name was Joseph, but the apostles called him the son of encouragement. Now that is a nickname I wouldn’t mind having. “Son of,” is a figure of speech used to describe a characteristic so strong that it permeated the person’s whole being. Does encouragement describe me? 

The son of encouragement (Barnabas) was known for more than just a few pats on the back or “attaboys,” he stood beside others in their difficulties. He was one who could see the value in others and believed in them. When Saul was not welcomed by the community of believers, and with his past who could blame them, we find these four beautiful words, “But Barnabas took him” (see Acts 9:20-27). Saul didn’t just need someone to say, “You got this.” He needed someone who “took him” to the other believers. Saul (Paul) needed somebody at this juncture in his life. Somebody to encourage him by believing in him enough to introduce him. 

Let’s be known as encouragers! It will take effort. It will take intentionality. It might involve some risk. But all around us on a Sunday morning are people in need of encouragement. 

William Barclay put it this way. “One of the highest of human duties is the duty of encouragement. It is easy to laugh at men’s ideals; it is easy to pour cold water on their enthusiasm; it is easy to discourage others. The world is full of discouragers. We have a Christian duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer has kept a man on his feet.” 

Encouragement is vital for life and for relationships. It is like a cool breeze on a hot summer day- it revives and refreshes. It is like a cold drink to parched thirst- it renews and gives strength. Encouragement helps you soar rather than sink. Encouragement has been likened to oxygen to the soul. It is said to be like a peanut butter sandwich- the more you spread it around, the better things stick together.            
Encouragement isn’t just some cute sayings. It is powerful enough to protect the Christian community from being deceived by sin (see Hebrews 3:12-13). Be an encourager!                   

Blessings, Pastor Brian