Do you feel like you need a reminder that you are not forgotten? That you matter? That your presence and your effort have had some effect?
Believe me, you matter. You have been God’s instrument of blessing in someone’s life. There is, out there, someone who is very thankful that they encountered you along the way.
And I’ll wager that at some point, you’ve had an experience like this:
I received a letter.
It was from an address I didn’t recognize. When I opened the envelope, I found a single-page, neatly typed message. The writer told me how he had found some of my writings online and they had been very helpful to him as he participated in prison ministry. He told me that each week, right before he goes to the county jail to teach and encourage, he prayed for me and my ministry. He ended with some very sweet words: “I hope that you feel God’s hand of strength and encouragement upon you, and that His anointing of your gift continues in ways that you will never see and could not have fathomed but nonetheless have contributed to.”
Like I said, I’ll wager this has happened to you. And I’ll wager that you treasure the letter, the email, or the memory of the conversation in which it happened.
I keep that letter in my notebook. When my heart feels dark, when I think that I am a failure, I turn to the page and unfold the letter. I read those words to remind me that someone out there prays for me.
That, I think, is the effect Paul intended for the Ephesians when he wrote this passage: “For this reason, ever since I have heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” (Eph. 1:15-16)
So, here’s a question.
Who do you need to write a letter to?
Or put another way,
Who do you need to encourage today?
Who do you need to drop an email or phone call to?
Who are you being called to bless right now?
Here’s another question.
What’s stopping you?
Or put another way,
What’s holding you back from passing along God’s blessing?
You could be the instrument that God is going to use to give hope to someone suffering in despair. You could have the very words that might encourage someone in their own dark night of the soul. It might very well be that someone will say of your words, “I keep that letter in my notebook….”
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a letter I need to write….
9 thoughts on “An Easy And Simple Way You Can Make Somebody’s Day (Meditation on Ephesians 1:15-16)”
You’re so right, Russell. Every so often I’m reminded of a positive comment made to me or a supportive note received that lifted my spirit. And in the remembering, the lift happens all over again! You’ve inspired me to do the same for someone else.
Thanks, Nancy. We had a lady here at Covenant who used to say “give your flowers away while they’re fresh” – It’s a lovely way of saying to pass along the blessing as soon as possible.
I very much enjoyed this read Russell, you are absolutely right about it too. I think back to acts 4:36, where Barnabas is called the “The Son of Encouragement.” I would like to be known for how I’ve encouraged others, as he clearly is, so much so that it was how he was referred to. But it seems too easy to look to bigger and better things than to just encourage someone, which often as you mentioned has the ability to pull them out of moments of self struggle.
Great observation about Barnabas – a good Biblical model to emulate.
I think the questions you pose at the beginning of the post are interesting. It makes me wonder why do we sometimes feel like we need a reminder that we are not forgotten? That we matter? That our presence and our effort have had some effect?
What is at work in us to create this particular type of discouragement?
It seems to me the Bible says that our hearts are active not passive. In Matthew 12, Jesus says that it is out of the abundance of our hearts that our mouth speaks. So an important question to ask is something like: “what am I pursuing when I feel the need for encouragement?” Or to draw from Ephesians 2, “what passions and desires of the body and heart am I chasing in this moment?”
Maybe I really am suffering or maybe, just maybe I want to be noticed. I want the spotlight on me rather than on someone else. If this desire is relational, in that I want the spotlight off someone else, to what extent is schadenfreude (pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others) alive in my heart?
If none of these question help to flesh out any heart activity, the next question worth asking is, “What do I need from someone else that I can’t find in Christ? and why can’t I find it in Christ?”
The question I have for discussion is, “If the heart active, is there a better way to encourage someone in Christ than to tell them what they want to hear?”
Good questions, Rod. And when we’re dealing with the darkness within, they are well worth wrestling with. Though we should also be prepared to receive God’s blessing when it comes in the form of affirmation by others.
I don’t believe my questions close the door on the receipt of blessings. My point is only that 1 Thess 5:14 directs us to be balanced in our ministry. To do so we need to know what the really needs in the moment of ministry. There is risk in seeking the blessing rather than the Creator.
You used the “give your flowers away while they are fresh” expression in a sermon years ago and it always stuck with me. Thank you for the reminder.
Thanks, Anna. That was a cool saying that Mary Beth Himmerich used to use – it always encouraged me, too.