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Yesterday, I received a very kind direct message of encouragement from a young man, now a friend that I coached back in the mid-1990s (I know I am old). I coached varsity boys’ and girls’ soccer for over 20 years. Walker said, “Happy Coaches Day, Paul! Once a coach, always a coach! Thanks for investing in me as a young knucklehead!”

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

Loving others includes encouraging one another. In Romans 12:7-8, Paul lists encouragement among the gifts of grace. 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity;  the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.  When people accomplish a common objective together, all are encouraged. Fellow believers encourage one another to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).

The Thessalonian Christians faced struggles and an uncertain future. Paul wrote to encourage them, reminding them of their faith and love and hope in Christ, all of which prepared them to be ready for the Lord’s return. And with these assurances, they could keep encouraging one another and building each other up.

The gift of encouragement is vital in our lives. En­cour­agement is a gift in the home, workplace, school, church, and wherever we find ourselves. We can come alongside others and be there for one another. We can listen, comfort, console, affirm. It’s a way of living out the command to love one another.

Take time to recall the people who’ve been encouragers in your life. They’re the ones who were there when you thought you’d never laugh again. They were the ones who listened to you, whereas others just talked. Then ask yourself, “When was the last time I encouraged someone?” It’s not difficult, and the people you encourage are so blessed by it.

Today, I challenge you to encourage a former or current teacher, coach, Bible teacher, pastor, or friend.

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