My mother received a phone call from our friend, Beth, telling her about a phone call she had just received and she was so excited. She said, “I am 84 years old and this is the first time I have ever received a phone call from a pastor just checking on me!” She went on to tell me, “we older people living alone are not ‘out of sight, out of mind’ nor forgotten For Pastor Barry to take time to call me to make sure I am alright and if I needed anything certainly makes one know we are not just one lost in the crowd. We are loved!” And Beth is right, she and they are loved!
Pastor Barry called and checked on some of his members and if they were doing well he asked them if they would take a list of five members, who may not do computers, and call and check on them. Let them know the church is here for them. He wanted them to know they are not alone in what they are facing.
You may think you cannot do anything right now with all of the restrictions about going out of the house and social distancing. Most of us can use the telephone. Look what a simple phone call meant to someone. We all know someone who needs encouragement. There are lots of people who live alone that need to know they are alone together with us! It does not have to be a church member, it can be a relative, friend, neighbor, etc. 1 Thessalonians 5: 11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” Our recent sermon series reminded us that we were created in and for community. God knows we get caught up in our own needs which makes our hearts heavy. If we are feeling too tired or stressed to give any kind of encouragement then we need it desperately for ourselves. When you pour encouragement into others it will spill onto you. We can never pour out so much that we are left empty!
1 Peter 4: 10-11, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” We are told that “each” of us should use whatever we have received to serve others. It does not say “some” of us. If we are a believer then we have the ability through the Holy Spirit to strengthen others in their faith. Romans 1: 11-12, “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” When we reach out to others we are encouraging them in their faith. We are given these gifts to strengthen others.
Not only is that person blessed by the call, we are too. Proverbs 11: 25, “A generous person will prosper…” By giving that gift the giver receives joy. 1 Thessalonians 3: 2, “We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith…” Timothy was sent to strengthen those in their faith. Today, we are called to do the same. We can use our gifts to strengthen someone, helping them grow in their faith.
If you call and talk with someone going through a hard time and give them hope then maybe you have the gift of empathy. If you have new members or new neighbors over to your home maybe you have the gift of hospitality. If you are The name of your gift does not matter. What matters is that you are strengthening the faith of the people around you. We can encourage each other through texts or a handwritten note or a phone call. We can check in on one another or take a meal or listen well. We can pour into a friend through prayer and then follow up after we’ve prayed. Let’s be the church. How is Jesus calling you to strengthen the faith of others?