16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
My grandparents were farmers. By the time I came into the world they had long since left the farm and were living in a small town. But they still kept a large garden, and Granddaddy rented plots of land to keep cattle and hogs.
They were by no means rich, somewhere between poverty and middle class. There were few frills, but there was one thing we always had. Food.
Their spooky cellar was lined with shelves stocked with home-canned goods, the result of what my grandmother called “puttin’ up the garden.” And the freezer was packed with beef and pork from Granddaddy’s fall “butcherin’s.”
Often times, I was called upon to go down into that eerie pit carved from beneath the old house to fetch vegetables required for the evening meal. The cellar was like a bank from which we could make withdrawals whenever we needed it.
In our focus text, the Apostle Paul expresses his desire for the members of the church at Thessalonica. “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope…” (v16) He called attention to what God had given them, “eternal encouragement and good hope.”
Like my grandparent’s cellar, the Lord gave us a storehouse of encouragement and hope available whenever we need it. Even better, Jesus’ gift is eternal and we don’t have to labor to stock the shelves. God’s supply is unending and limitless. Take as much as you need whenever you need it.
In the following verse, Paul tells us God’s gift is to be used to “encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”
How often do you need encouragement? Things don’t always turn out the way you prayed. Problems have a way of coming out of nowhere and hitting you in the gut.
In those times, go to God’s First Heavenly Bank of Blessings and withdraw all the encouragement you need to get you through your crisis. The Lord’s encouragement is only a prayer and an inspiring Bible verse away.
Not only has the Lord given us an endless supply of encouragement, but He also offers strength for “every good word and deed.” Everything we need for saying and doing the right thing is available to us 24-7.
Doing good and speaking rightly requires an extra measure of strength when dealing with people who have harmed or hurt us. In fact, speaking kindly and performing good deeds are opposite our natural inclinations. But the strength we need is available as long as we’re willing.
The Lord’s work is always rewarding but not always easy or convenient. Cooking a meal for a shut-in, visiting a sick church member, or showing up for choir practice after a hard day at work requires extra effort. Propping up your feet in front of the TV or reading a book in peace and quiet would be a preferred alternative. That’s when a quick prayer for the Lord’s strength is in order.
Whenever the Lord’s work becomes a cumbersome or unwelcome chore; when speaking in a way that honors God seems impossible, or when doing good and offering grace and mercy seem improbable — go to God’s storehouse. The strength you need awaits. It’s yours, given by the blood of Christ and out of the love of God. Take it. Use it.
Are you discouraged? Downhearted? Then don’t allow God’s encouragement go to waste. Go to Him right now and make a withdrawal from the First Heavenly Bank of Blessings.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Effective and Productive Faith
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.