READING: Isaiah 46:1-49:13, Colossians 4:2-18
I cannot talk highly enough about the importance of encouragement. Over the years of my ministry, I remember that handwritten note that arrived just as I was struggling, that phone call simply to say, “We’re glad you’re our pastor,” that quick conversation that gave me energy to press on, that knowing smile that said to me, “I understand what you’re thinking, and I’m with you.” Now, the Internet and social media make it possible to receive encouragement from people around the world—and I’m deeply grateful for the Facebook messages, the Twitter direct messages, and the emails from folks with whom I ministered even decades ago. An affirmation seemingly “out of nowhere” can be a powerful encouragement at just the right time.
So, I have some understanding of why Paul sent Tychicus to the Colossians to encourage them: “Tychicus, our dearly loved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know how we are and so that he may encourage your hearts” (Col 4:7-8). Surely Tychicus was the right man, for he so strongly followed the Lord and worked with Paul that the apostle described him as a dearly loved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant. Paul sent him with “all the news about me,” with the goal of strengthening and heartening the Colossians’ faith.
Today, make a commitment to encourage someone else to strengthen his or her faith.
PRAYER: “Thank You, Lord, for the encouragers in my life. Help me to encourage others, too.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Isaiah 49:14-53:12, 1 Thessalonians 2