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make the choice to encourage someone

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19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. 20 For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22 But you know Timothy’s proven worth, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel. 23 I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me, 24 and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself will come also.

 

For years, I’ve ended my Christmas letter with this invitation, “If you’re ever close to where we live here in Colorado, please stop to see us.” Sending a greeting card is one thing, but a personal visit is even better. There’s nothing like face-to-face togetherness to reminisce over family fun memories, college capers, and the good old days. It’s good to share in all we have in common and experience the blessing of a shared life together. It encourages us.

One way to define encouragement is well+soul or as the Greek word suggests “well-souled.” Paul, full of the human desire to be face-to-face with another human being, sitting in a Roman prison, has much time to contemplate the power of encouragement. As he writes he not only wants his friends to know that it is well with his soul, but he wants to know if they are “well-souled”. Epaphroditus, beloved friend ministers to Paul with his visit. Timothy is the gift of encouragement because of his presence with the Philippians – bringing Paul’s and his genuine concern for their souls. Paul also longs to be released to see them again personally. Timothy, Epaphroditus and Paul give us an example of the true secret of encouragement – the art of self-giving presence.

These days, electronics make face-to-face meetings and facilitated communication easy on screens. But the truth is encouragement is always relational. Being physically with someone is powerfully healing and uplifting. Jesus and others have come alongside of you to enable you to be well-souled. Think about who you can come alongside to bring encouragement. Today, put down the electronics and make the choice to encourage someone by being physically present with them, and “seeing” them face-to-face.

 

So then let us pursue
what makes for peace
and for mutual up building.
Romans 14:19

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By Donna Burns 

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