Bible Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
You’ve never had a day this swell, have you?
7:45am: You miss your bus, so your mother has to drive you to school. She lectures about punctuality the whole way.
8:12am: You forgot your homework, so your teacher writes your name on the chalkboard under the heading “No Clue.”
11:47am: You carry your lunch to the table where your friends are sitting, but nobody moves to squish you in.
4:33pm: Your dad forgets to come to your game-again.
Now if any of us had a day that lousy, we would need a heap of help. But what would encourage us? Vote “yep” or “nope” on these ideas for raising our spirits.
□ Yes □ No A friend says, “You think you have problems. Let me tell you about mine. (Blah, blah, blah.)”
□ Yes □ No A friend explains, “Here’s why that happened, dummy, and here’s what you need to do so it doesn’t happen again. (Blah, blah, blah.)”
□ Yes □ No You receive an e-mail from a friend that says, “Sorry to hear about your discouraging day. I’m praying for you.”
□ Yes □ No A friend shows up with a hot new Christian music CD. “I heard you had a tough day. I thought we could listen to this together.”
From time to time, everybody you know needs encouragement. Encouragement means lifting people’s spirits and cheering them up by helping them focus on the positive and good things in life. But only a couple of choices from the list of “friendly” responses really fit that definition, right? The others don’t help at all, and they might even make things worse.
According to 1 Thessalonians 5:11, encouraging others is part of what it means to be a good friend. As we let God be our perfect friend and encourage us with his perfect wisdom, we will know how to be a true source of encouragement to our friends-even on their dumpiest days.
TALK: How do you treat friends who are down? Have you let God help you spot the difference between helping—and hurting?
PRAY: God, make us good friends who know how to encourage the people who need it most.
ACT: Phone a friend you know could use some encouragement.