Although it may seem insignificant in comparison to other activities, encouragement is vital to the spiritual well-being of those around us. We all have the ability to encourage others and should work to develop and improve our encouragement skills. Encouragement is not simply a thing we should do; it is a thing we must do!

The word, “encourage”, means to “inspire to continue on the present course.” The Christian life is a race. We must “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1). In running the race, encouragement often spells the difference between a desire to keep going and a desire to give up. Ultimately, God is the source of our encouragement (Rom. 15:5). But, His encouragement often takes the form of flesh and blood when we are strengthened by our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Our responsibility to encourage one another is emphasized by the apostle Paul, who wrote, “Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing” (1 Th. 5:11). In writing to those who had already begun to fall away from Christ, the Hebrew author said, “But encourage one another day after day…” (Heb. 3:13) Later, in chapter ten, he tells them not to forsake their own assembling together; as is the habit of some, but encourage one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near” (vs. 25). It may not be the only means of encouraging our spiritual family, but attending worship services is one important opportunity we have to fulfill our responsibility to encourage others.

A serendipitous blessing connected to encouragement is that, as we encourage others, we gain encouragement ourselves. As members of the body of Christ, we are like the strands of a rope – stronger together than standing apart. There are so many who need our encouragement. Why make the effort to win the lost if we are going to just let the wither and die for lack of encouragement? Encouragement is an important responsibility. It is a labor of love and a work always needing to be done. Will you accept your responsibility to encourage someone today?

— Glen Elliott —