Today’s word of encouragement comes from the inspired pen of the apostle Paul, who sent the young disciple Timothy on a mission of mercy into the lives of the Christians in Thessalonica.

We sent Timothy, who is our brother and God’s fellow worker in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith. (1 Thessalonians 3:2)

A simple mission—“sent to strengthen”—yet perhaps the most important mission you or I can engage in, and one that everyone in the body of Christ is able to do. There are no special gifts required to strengthen others. We don’t need years of higher education to prepare us to bring a blessing of strength to our family of faith; all we need is to know that this blessing is needed and we must have the willingness to go and offer it.

So . . . when was the last time you went on a mission of mercy to bring strength into the lives of others?

In this one verse of Scripture, Paul painted a profound picture of the call God has placed on the lives of everyone He has saved by grace through faith. You and I are called to strengthen and encourage each other (see, for example, 1 Thessalonians 5:11) and there are countless ways to do just that. There are people in your life right now who need you to strengthen and encourage them through the words you say and the deeds you do. Perhaps there is someone you need to call and reconnect with. Maybe there is someone you should make time to go visit. Every person in your life has been placed there by God for the specific purpose of providing both strength and encouragement, even on those occasions when you would rather not!

One of the best ways to understand the importance of what Paul did in sending Timothy on a mission of mercy is to recall a time when God sent a “Timothy” to you. A week does not go by at The Cross that someone does not come up to me after one of our services to give me a “holy hug” from God and offer a word of encouragement. And I can promise you that there is no one who needs it more or appreciates it more than me, and I never forget to tell them that.

I am often reminded of these words.

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:24)

Jesus was the perfect model of providing strength and encouragement that is sweet to the soul and healing to the bones; as His disciples, our lives are to look like His life. From the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 to Peter on the beach in John 21, our Master’s mission of mercy always met people in their place of deepest need and left them strengthened and encouraged.

Can the same be said about us? May God make it so!

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!    

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