1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
Gravity is the force of attraction that exists between all matter. We experience it most commonly in the fact that all objects with mass are drawn to the earth. Consequently, we slip and we fall, we drop a glass and it descends to the floor, rain falls to the earth. But did you know that gravity is not uniform? There are places on this earth where the forces of gravity are weaker and stronger. As a general rule, the closer you get to the equator and the higher you get in elevation, gravity weakens. I recently learned that Mount Nevado Huascaran in the Peruvian Andes is the place on earth with the lowest gravitational pull; because it is really high and relatively close to the equator. The surface of the Arctic Ocean has the highest gravitational force.
So, why should I care about fluctuating gravity? I want you to consider the fact that the world itself is always trying to pull us down! This is true in physics, but it is also true in life! The circumstances of life on this planet will pull you down if you let them! But there are places where the effects of that are lessened, and the local church should be one of those places! Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica that they should “encourage one another and build one another up”. In the midst of a world that is trying to pull us down, the church should be a place where we come to be lifted! Lifted by the presence of God when we meet, but also lifted by the encouragement and edification of others in the family of God.
You might recognize that you need that kind of help. You may see that you need to be lifted up, built up, and strengthened. It is obvious to me that I could use the help of others. However, how often do you consider the fact that as a member of the Body of Christ, you are responsible for doing that to other people as well? You are an ambassador of encouragement to the body of Christ! You are a trainer whose job it is to strengthen others. Listen to Paul’s admonition to the Corinthian church (2 Cor 1:3-4):
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
Paul is telling us that God comforts us in our afflictions, “so that” we can comfort others in the same way. It is great news to know that God is going to comfort us regardless of our circumstances. However, the challenge is to pass that comfort on to others. To become conduits of the Lord’s comfort.
It is my prayer for you that you would be comforted…encouraged…built up. However, I am also praying that you would begin to see yourself as a minister of encouragement. And that we, as a church, might become a place where the gravity of this life is lessened. That Grace would be a place closer and higher in Christ, so that the weight of this world would be diminished for all who would hear the Good News of the Gospel!!