Mutual Encouragement

Mutual Encouragement

We are in the middle of a sermon series called Connected, a series about community- why we need it and how we can live in it. For our second week in our series, we looked at one essential attribute to building deeper community- mutual encouragement.

We live in a world of grumblers. We see them, we hear them, and to be honest, sometimes we are them. However, grumbling is like a leaky faucet. As grumbling continues over time, it starts to erode relationships like a leaky faucet erodes a sink. Grumbling damages community and can create wedges in our relationships with ourselves, others, and God. In Romans 1:8-12, Paul offers us a practical alternative to grumbling. He tells the church in Rome “we can mutually encourage each other.” To mutually encourage is to build each other up, support one another, and offer each other hope. To be mutual means that it is not a one-sided relationship, it is a two way street and a reciprocal relationship. Grumbling damages community, but encouraging builds community. In a world of grumblers, God calls us to be encouragers. We cannot take this step from grumbling to encouraging on our own strength. We need God’s strength and help in order to do so. However, God has the ability to mold us into encouragers, who support one another and build each other up in love. Mutual encouragement is an essential attribute to develop deep, authentic community.
When we become members of The United Methodist Church, we make a vow to support the church with our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness. Each of these five vows can be avenues through which God invites us to encourage others. We can support one another by praying for or with someone as they are going through a difficult time. Even if we are anxious about praying with someone, the Spirit can move in us and give us the words to say in that moment. We can encourage others by our presence, by being a constant, faithful presence to others when they need it. Sometimes simply sitting with someone in silence is just the support they need. When it comes it service, you don’t have to go on a mission trip, although that could be a great way to serve. Serving can be as simple as opening the door for someone, changing their tire on the side of the road, or bringing them a meal to encourage them. Giving gifts to people when they need it can also encourage people. These gifts could be monetary or material- like a meal for a person who is homeless or a handwritten note to uplift a friend. We can encourage others through our witness and sharing Christ’s love, which can be as simple as the clothes we wear, like our “God is big enough” bracelets. If God can use Paul, who used to persecute Christians, to encourage others, God can use any and all of us to encourage.
Scripture Readings
Monday- Romans 1:1-12
Tuesday- Ephesians 4:20-32
Wednesday- 1 Thessalonians 5:11-28
Thursday- Hebrews 10:19-25
Friday- Proverbs 12:1-28
Questions to Consider and Discuss: 
1. Do you struggle with grumbling? If so, in what ways?
2. What is one way God is inviting you to encourage someone this week?

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