By Robert Anderson, BCM/D President and Pastor of Colonial Baptist Church, Randallstown, Md.
If the truth be told, we all need encouragement at various times in our lives and ministries. I remember long ago while attending Bible college I was really struggling in my classes. It was probably my Greek class. Anyway, there was a dear lady who worked for the school and prepared our meals. Her name was Momma Walton. One day, she saw me looking a bit distraught so she called me over and said, “Mr. Robert, how are you doing?” She added, “I’m praying for you.” I replied, “Thank you.” As I was about to leave she said, “If you are ever feeling down and burdened, just look up, because I will be praying for you.” That has always encouraged me through the years, and I wish I could tell you just how many times I have had to look up.
Needless to say, Momma Walton has gone on to be with the Lord, and I sometimes wonder if she is still calling out my name before the throne. Well, even if she isn’t; according to the scriptures, the Lord Jesus sure is! “Consequently, He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25).
What a great encouragement it is to know that our great Savior is not sitting around playing chess all day, but He is making intercession for you and me!
Some years ago, Dr. Herschel H. Hobbs told the story of how several pastors tried to win a condemned criminal to Christ by preaching down to him, and they simply failed in their efforts. However, a layman went to visit this same man, and when he entered the death row cell, he sat on the cot alongside the man, took his hand and said, “We are in a bad fix, aren’t we?” The man broke into tears and soon gave his life to the Lord. This is a good picture of the word, encouragement. It actually means to “come alongside of.” Saints, we were all on death row heading for eternal execution, and Jesus came into our cells and basically said, “We are in a bad fix, aren’t WE?” However, the Lord Jesus took our sins on himself and went to the cross, and was executed in our place…hallelujah! Our future is now bright and blessed in Christ Jesus, The Lord of glory.
The art of encouragement in word and deed is something every born again believer should seek to master through regular practice. Remember the instruction given by the Apostle Paul, “Therefore encourage one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:18).
As I bring my thoughts to an end, the previous verse deserves some further explanation. Paul was not writing of just any encouragement, but a very specific one, and one in which I am sad to say that I don’t hear many Christian using as an encouragement, namely the second coming of the Lord Jesus! The world is in despair, conflict and strife. Our own country has lost its mind with insurmountable debt, the systematic and legal destruction of marriage by our president, governor, mayor, and Supreme Court judges, the ability of teenagers to go to a store and get a “day after” pill as easily as they buy candy, the continuation of abortions, and the appearance of men kissing men and women kissing women on television. All of this is an abomination! Lord, have mercy on our nation and our churches. It is critical that we love each other, share our faith, and that we live a godly life.
Indeed, let us encourage one another with the precious truth that Jesus is coming back….might it be today? “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).