1 Thessalonians 3-5


Encouragement- the action of giving support, confidence, or hope; to inspire with courage or spirit, to spur on, to give help, the act of giving promise; to make someone more determined or to make something more appealing. Above is a compilation of as many definitions of encouragement I could find. Just reading through this compilation invigorates me and excites me. Encouragement is positive and hope filled. It is a good thing for anyone that receives it. Which one of us wouldn’t love a dose of encouragement today? By definition, encouragement implies action. It could be explained as energizing movement towards a personal goal, event or relationship. While we can all be inspired by a random speaker or author, I would maintain that the most effective encouragement comes out of personal relationship. When a mentor or respected friend or family member reaches out at the right time with the right words, it can have great impact. These conversations can be the perfect boost to catapult one into action.

If I am striking out in a new endeavor, support from a trusted friend means the world to me. When I am weary of responsibility, getting spurred on by someone who understands my circumstances gives me the energy to make it to the finish line. I think we all see the value of hopeful hearts pouring into our lives. It makes us feel like we are not alone and that someone else is on our team. Everyone benefits when another takes the time to speak personal encouragement into someone’s life. Sometimes encouragement looks like physical help, financial assistance or just sitting with someone when they are scared, grieving, or facing an unknown. Receiving encouragement is life giving, refreshing and motivating.

The theme of this letter from Paul, Silas and Timothy to the Thessalonian people is encouragement in their faith. Paul mentions that he and Silas sent Timothy to encourage them in their faith, to keep them from being shaken by the troubles they were facing. In chapter 4, Paul tells them to encourage each other with hope for the future in Jesus’ return. Chapter 5 tells them to encourage those who are timid, taking tender care of those who are weak and being patient with everyone. In 3:6-8 the tables turn and Paul tells the Thessalonians how greatly he was encouraged to hear that they were remaining strong in their faith. He told the Thessalonians that he, Silas and Timothy were given new life knowing that they were standing firm in the Lord.


Each of us will most likely encounter people today. We know that everyone is facing something that is daunting, unsettling, or just plain hard.  Can we look for a way to give support? Can we say something that brings hope, courage, or promise? Let’s listen to others and be aware of their circumstances so we can build each other up.