“Encourage anyone who feels left out, help all who are weak, and be patient with everyone.” 1 Thessalonians 5:14 (CEV)
When you are feeling neglected, overlooked, or ignored, what is your natural reaction? It depends on your personality, but you will probably either want to withdraw and take the approach of “you ignore me and I’ll ignore you,” or you’ll seek out a way to get that person’s attention. Either way, it’s all about you.
God wants you to choose a different reaction. With his controlled power, he wants you to make the gentle choice to focus on others. If you’re feeling neglected, chances are somebody else is feeling that way too, and you have the opportunity to do something for him or her because you can empathize.
Finding someone to encourage will get you out of the downward spiral of self-pity; you are now looking out for others and seeking to make a difference in their lives.
As today’s verse tells us, it’s important to look for someone who most other people wouldn’t encourage. A lot of people like to encourage or help powerful people because it might give them a leg up on something. But God wants us to “encourage anyone who feels left out” and “help those who are weak” (1 Thessalonians 5:14 CEV).
Who do you need to encourage? Take a moment to consider someone you know who might be feeling neglected or overlooked. Maybe it’s somebody in your office, school or neighborhood.
Then take some time to follow Hebrews 10:24 and “think of ways to encourage one anther to outbursts of love and good deeds” (NLT). Maybe write them a quick note or take them out to lunch.
Those small acts have the power to change not only their lives, but yours as well. Instead of turning inward and allowing neglect to eat away at you, turn outward and use God’s power in your life to serve others. It’s ministry, it’s powerful, and it makes a difference.
Tom Holladay is a teaching pastor at Saddleback Church and author of The Relationship Principles of Jesus.
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