In the quiet of the morning I wake, grab the Word, and pull the covers tight around my waist. I am soon lost in Paul’s instructions to the church at Thessalonica. Three exhortations leap off the page. My pencil draws them back there, nailing them down tight to my heart.
Encourage the fainthearted. These days I am so faint of heart. The sharp edges of this world have scraped my soul raw. Daggers pierce, wounds fester. How can I give from the shallows? Paul, too, must have been fainthearted. Years of ministry had left him spent. Beatings and chains, not to mention that mysterious thorn (2 Cor. 12:7-9). He had witnessed fighting among the brethren and the Gospel compromised. Surely Paul was weary, yet he encouraged.
Help the weak. To bare our weaknesses is a sign of…well, weakness. This photo-shopped, pixel-perfect world has no place for the broken. Am I the only one cowering behind the guise of an ideal life, afraid to lift the veil and let others peer into reality? Pride is a cruel taskmaster that keeps me from admitting the truth of my imperfection. It robs me of the joy of helping others; I make no offers because who needs help from a weakened wretch like me?
Be patient. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit, a variety I rarely possess. Annoyances light the short fuse in my heart. Words, like sparks, fly out. I can’t retrieve them before they burn. Grace. I expect too much and offer too little. Patience requires a heart that is willing to wait, and I don’t like to. My internal clock has been reset to the rapid rhythms of the world.
As I ponder Paul’s words, I realize that these are the very things the church needs today. The lack of encouragement, help, and patience among believers is glaring. I am the first who should be condemned.
The pebbled leather feels cool against my hand as I close the cover. I pull back the blankets to start the day, praying for the Lord’s grace to be more encouraging, more helpful, and more patient as I go.
And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. – 1 Thess. 5:14
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melissa Jackson is a sinner saved by grace alone, living a quiet life with her husband in their empty nest. She is an active member of Tucker Swamp Baptist Church in Zuni, where she currently teaches children and youth. Aside from the Lord and her family, she is passionate about Bible literacy, reading, writing, coffee, and chocolate. You can read more of her writing at her often neglected blog, One Quiet Life. (onequietlife.blogspot.com)