Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Sharing Our Gifts to Encourage Others


1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.


Our Living Stones Women's Ministry has done a variety of different service/mission projects over the past year, including running the Orphan Day 5K (hmmm...I think I'm the only one who did that!), collecting gifts for birthday boxes, and writing letters to the mother of one of our members in her final weeks.  I especially like the idea of encouragement as a ministry.  Along with the church members at Thessalonica, we are instructed by Paul to "encourage one another and build each other up," and we know from personal experience what a blessing it is to receive encouragement from others. 
 
A Christian woman I'm acquainted with online is creating a room of artful encouragement for her daughter, who will be returning from a residential treatment program in Arizona by mid-March.  She has called upon her online friends to contribute encouraging pieces that she can include in a "spruced-up" room she is creating for her daughter's return. 
 
I asked the Living Stones to consider their talents and interests, and offer something for me to send to my online friend for her daughter.  So far, I have three pieces to send along, and I am delighted by how we each used such different gifts to express our encouragement.
 
1 Peter 4:10
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others,
as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
 
From our resident photographer, Sue:
The quotation from Albert Camus reads, "In the midst of winter, I found that there was, within me, an invincible summer."  An invincible summer within me--what an inspiring thought!
 
From our resident scrapbook-enthusiast, Christine:
The quotation from Mark F. LaMoure reads, "In life, we tend to get what we expect.  Start expecting the best.  Since life is a do-it-yourself project, why not believe in miracles?  You have the freedom of choice.  Why not expect miracles to happen in your life?  Make plans, work hard and expect miracles.  Why?  Because you can."  I love that last part:  Why?  Because you can.  What a great motto!
 
And from our resident mixed-media artist, me:
The text come from a card I picked up on my church's recent family retreat at Harvey Cedars Bible Conference:  "Good morning, Lord!  Let's begin this day together!" along with the text of Psalm 118:24:  "This is the day the Lord has made.  Let's rejoice and be glad in it."
 
And for everyone who thinks that they do not have the creativity or "talent" to create something to send along as part of our mission project, I would like to share this verse from Paul's letter to the Colossians:
Colossians 3:23-24
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

 
Whenever you have the opportunity to do projects like this, or to pray with someone, or to complete any sort of service, remember that you are working for God, not trying to win the praise of other people.  Serving, like praying, is not a competitive sport!  Do it in the service of God, and your light will shine for the world, and the people around you won't be able to help but to be blessed!
 

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