THURSDAY, MAY 6
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Hebrews 3:12-13 (ESV)
BREAKING THE BARRIERS TO A LOVING HEART: BARRIER #1 – DISCOURAGEMENT
Years ago, a Dear Abby column ran a story by a retired schoolteacher. One day, she had her students take out two sheets of paper and list the names of the other students in the room. Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down by their names. She took the papers home that weekend and compiled a list for each student of what the others had said about him or her. On Monday, she gave each student his or her list. Before long, everyone was smiling. “Really?” one whispered. “I never knew that meant anything to anyone. I didn’t know anyone liked me that much!” Years later, the teacher went to the funeral of one of her former students, who had been killed in Vietnam. Many who had been in that class years before were there. After the service, the young man’s parents approached the teacher and said, “We want to show you something. Mark was carrying this when he was killed.” The father pulled out of a wallet the list of all the good things Mark’s classmates had said about him. “Thank you so much for doing that”, Mark’s mother said. “As you can see, Mark treasured it.” At that point, the teacher sat down and cried. And, she used that assignment in every class for the rest of her teaching career.
The author of Hebrew teaches we all need to be “exhorted” or encouraged everyday. To “exhort one another” means I need to be open to receiving encouragement. It also means I should be providing encouragement to others. The goal is that we keep each other’s hearts tender and away from the deception of sin.
Who is the last person you remember encouraging you? Do they know how much it meant to you? Who can you encourage today?
Thank God for your encouragers.