ENCOURAGEMENT OVER COMPLACENCY

It is just too bad that there isn’t a way to develop a tab or a key called Encouragement. A simple double click that one could use when needed. It plays such a significant role in developing and maintaining a healthy human psyche.  Without enough of the stuff called encouragement people go about looking to find a substitute and it usually doesn’t supply any real satisfaction. As a matter of fact the substitutes some people find are very destructive, in both the short and long term.

It is just too bad that even the public school systems have found and adopted an illegitimate substitute to true encouragement. Participation ribbons do not encourage students, let me repeat that, participation ribbons or any other pseudo award is not encouragement. It merely excuses mediocrity and it certainly doesn’t help a child excel or see the need to set goals. It doesn’t instill a sense of striving or an understanding of, and appreciation for delayed gratification.

It is just too bad that so many Christian’s don’t realize how important it is to encourage one another, as has been said in I Thessalonians 3:11 “Therefore, encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing,” (NASB) But then the emphasis is changed in Hebrews 3:13 “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called today, so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Yes, there are some, “How to” or “Self-help” works that are okay, in their place, but they are not a substitute for what really needs to be happening. It is counter-productive to get too wrapped up in ourselves. It becomes a lot like giving ourselves a participation ribbon while ignoring God’s calling. Granted the ultimate participation ribbon includes eternity, which began the moment we embraced Jesus Christ as our personal savior. So what do we have to show for it? Why have so many Christians become so complacent?  How did our world devolve and be allowed to take such a nose dive into the self-absorbed, immediate gratification, and entitlement mentality we see in our society today? Has Christian complacency played a role in this malformation?

It is just too bad that so many Christian’s don’t fully understand just how important evangelism is. No matter what spiritual gifts someone has the goal, the calling for every believer is to fulfill is the Great Commission. Missionaries are evangelizing; churches and individuals provide support; but is that alone all one has to do? Jesus said in Matthew 28: 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” What needs to be emphasized is that the word nation, used here, is meant to convey the idea not only of country but also of tribe, of people, and of the individual.  Some cultures may still follow patriarchal traditions where if the father converts to Christianity the rest of his family does likewise. But does each individual always understand that conversion? Do all societies follow that hierarchy?   What making disciples really means is the relational, one on one and one at a time involvement in evangelizing. Something every believer should put near the top of their priorities list, just below God and family. 

It is just too bad so many believers have become complacent, being satisfied to remain on the sidelines and let others (ahem – like their pastors) do the heavy lifting. But now for a word of encouragement; it is not too late. Now is the time. We have an opportunity at this present moment to do what we have been called to do. We are each called to be the salt of the earth and to fulfill the Great Commission. We should encourage everyone to focus in on who our Savior Jesus Christ is, on what He has told us and to encourage others to share in the joy and satisfaction that comes with knowing Jesus Christ as Lord. He has provided us with the words of encouragement. We need to set our goals properly and to see them through. Regarding those words of encouragement, Jesus said in Matthew 11: 30, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” and Matthew 28: 20, “Lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age.” In I John 4: 4, John said, “because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”

So we can see, “it’s NOT just too bad,” there is still something we can do. We can encourage one another to strive and achieve these goals. Being the salt of the earth means we should be active participants, writing our parts in God’s story of His creation. Furthermore, we have God’s reassurances, His encouragement, and His Great Commission call. We weren’t created to just complacently stand on the sidelines as part time participants. Therefore, our call to action should become, quoting the words of Todd Beamer memorialized after 9/11, “Let’s Roll.”

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