CLERGY CORNER: Encouragers

Posted on 15 August 2012 by LeslieM

I took up cycling as a hobby at age 40. A sports injury and surgery had ruled out several sports I enjoyed since childhood. It happens.

One of the organized cycling rides my first year was a one day trek across Indiana. Even the idea of a one-day, 160-mile bicycle ride seemed a little crazy and it proved to be. My posterior was sore for a week.

Late in the day of the ride, I was in trouble, about to run out of stamina and daylight. With several miles still to go and only 40 minutes remaining to cross the finish line, my prospects for completing the ride were fading as the sun neared the west horizon.

Chills and cramps intensified. Doubt grew. I didn’t think I could make it.

We find ourselves in this physical and mental place sometimes don’t we? We call it life!

I climbed a long hill and was pedaling only a few miles an hour with my head down when a van slowly passes. I am barely aware of the van’s existence when a young boy I had never seen before sticks his head out the window and yells out at me. “You can do it. You’re almost there. Keep going!” Tears begin to flow down my cheeks!

I am not positive the van or the boy is real. You may think I am kidding, but I am not. I wondered then, and I wonder now, if the boy was an angel, an encourager sent from God…..

Have you ever needed an encourager? Of course you have. Have you been an encourager to someone else? I hope you have.

From the first family to the patriarchs to Moses, the Lord is the premier encourager of all encouragers. And imagine, after 40 years, with Moses leading in the wilderness how Joshua must have felt when Moses rested with the patriarchs and left Joshua in charge with such a formidable job to do!

Talk about cramps, chills and exhaustion! Talk about the need for encouragement! But when the Lord commissions Joshua, the Lord does not appoint, anoint and walk away.

The Lord provides the path and the encouragement Joshua needs and the Lord provides the path and the ultimate encouragement we all need through Christ in order for us to finish the race set before us.

In fact, through faith in Christ, we are all called to be encouragers!

Paul says it this way to the Ephesians. “Since you have heard about Jesus and learned the truth that comes from him, let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (Ephesians 4)

This is Good News to share!

As we swell with national pride and celebrate our success as a nation in the Olympics, we also need to celebrate encouragers behind the scenes. Behind every Olympian, behind all God’s children are encouragers, and God knows we need them.

We all know people who need encouragement for the long road and each of us are created and strategically-positioned to uniquely be that person for someone else. Most times, we are called to encourage family, friends and coworkers. Sometimes, we even have the chance to encourage a stranger.

But, all times, wherever and whenever there are encouragers, God is driving the van.

Thanks to my young unknown encourager, I finished what would prove to be my first of many treks across Indiana. I will forever remember the young encourager’s words, “You can do it. You’re almost there. Keep going!”

I will see that young man again some day beyond the west horizon …

Reverend Dr. Dennis Andrews is Minister at Community Presbyterian Church of Deerfield Beach (Steeple on the Beach) located five blocks south of Hillsboro on AIA. www.communitych.org.

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