January 11, 2007
Hebrews 13:3a But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today...
My mom and I drove out to Illinois on Tuesday to attend a funeral for a pastor and old friend, Rev. John McClimans. He knew Jeff and the rest of my family from Peniel camp in Pennsylvania that my family has attended for years. Rev.McClimans had called my parents every week from Illinois for the last two years. My parents were not always home to receive his call, but he was always sure to leave a message on their answering machine that he was thinking of them and that they had been prayed for that day. Every week they got that call, on holidays too. As I sat at his funeral on Wednesday, the service was opened up for anyone who would like to share something about Rev. McClimans. Not a single person got up without saying how much of an encourager he was. Person after person got up to say that he called them every week, praying with them and for them. I sat there amazed that this man would find the time to think of so many people week after week. It occurred to me that with all of the people he lifted up to God in prayer, that he was constantly in prayer. He would come to prayer meetings burdened by prayer requests from the people he cared so much about.
I am not sure how many have seen the commercial on television promoting "don't almost give". I have only seen it once, but it has really embedded itself in my mind. The commercial talks about the man that was hungry on the side of the street, and you walked past, and almost gave him something to eat. Or almost gave him a blanket to warm himself with. But you kept going and that man passed away that night. We have no real idea of the way we can impact people around us just by giving encouragement. Having gone through an experience that was somewhat traumatic, I know what encouragement can do. There were a select few that sent me cards every week. Or called to see how my treatments went. I was not always there to talk, or sometimes just not able to talk, but there were those who left a message so I would know that they, on purpose, thought of me that day. To this day, I am so thankful for those people. So often we think, "I don't even know what to say. How can I encourage them?" Or "Too much time has passed, what do I say now?" How many times do we almost send a card, or almost make a phone call. It's never too late to reach out. It's never too often. Prayer is absolutely essential, and I believe encouragement is important too. People out there are hurting. I know because my family is. I don't know how long, if ever, it will take before the pain of losing Jeff will be less than it is now. I know we are a family who needs to be encouraged, just like yours might be. My challenge to everyone is simply stated: Don't almost encourage someone today. If you are thinking of someone, God may have put them on your heart for a reason. Along with your prayers, send them a card, write them an email, give them a call... anything to let them know that you are thinking of them. God calls us to encourage each other daily, as long as it is called Today.... not tomorrow, not next week. Today.
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