Today’s Reading: Acts 14:3 NLT
3But the apostles stayed there a long time, preaching boldly about the grace of the Lord. And the Lord proved their message was true by giving them power to do miraculous signs and wonders.
After my mother’s fall, a dear friend loaned her a walker to use while her broken pelvic bone mended. It took a lot of encouragement for Mom to use this health aide, at first. She had grown accustomed to walking independently for eighty-seven years, and the walker initially seemed like a burden rather than a blessing. She conveniently forgot to use it quite often. You need to understand that my mother is a very stubborn person. I’ve inherited some of that tenacity from her and this is a character trait I am proud to pass along. Two months to the day of her fall, Mom’s physician agreed to let her set the awkward walker aside.
A short time later, Mom took yet another spill, which resulted in a badly broken wrist, and the walker has been brought out of storage and dusted off. Once her wrist heals to the place where she can bear weight, Mom has now decided that this walker is a much needed life accessory. My sister and I are making plans now to color coordinate it with her wardrobe! Until then, Mom chooses to lean on her colorful daughters’ arms. They have become her walker, a daily source of daily balance in a confusing situation. It is a great privilege to walk Mom everywhere she wants to go. Quite often, I find that she encourages me in ways she cannot even imagine as we walk this road together.
We were supposed to be at the tax office on Friday morning, taking care of Mom’s 2009 income tax filing, when she began complaining of numbness and pain in her left hand. The doctor’s exchange said we should come immediately to his office for an examination. My husband went to the tax meeting in Mom’s place while I drove her to the doctor. The purple cast had to come off. The noise of the electric saw was so loud that I promptly removed Mom’s hearing aids. Mom began to scream at the top of her lungs as the determined assistant cut through the hard plaster exterior. I asked Mom if she was in pain. She looked up at me, a little surprised, and emphatically said, “No.” I asked her why she was screaming. Mom flashed a feisty smile my way and replied, “The tax man cometh while my left hand goeth. Blessed be the name of the Lord!” I laughed out loud! She may be eighty-seven years young, but my mother hasn’t skipped a beat! So the purple cast came off; Mom got to keep her hand and, as an added bonus, didn’t owe any additional money to the US government. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Barnabas was a born encourager. When he accepted Jesus Christ as His personal Lord and Savior, Barnabas was immediately filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. He allowed the Spirit to use him wherever he went. When Paul came to Jerusalem following his conversion on the Damascus road, Barnabas risked his life to convince the Apostles of Paul’s change of heart. Barnabas went with Paul on his first missionary journey, walking with him every step of the way. He became the mediator extraordinaire between Paul and John Mark; it was because of Barnabas’ constant encouragement they were later reunited in missionary travels.
If Barnabas were speaking to us today, I imagine he would probably shrug his shoulders and wonder what all the fuss is about. I believe he would probably tell us that he received the greater blessing – so much more than he ever gave away. When we choose to love each other the way Jesus Christ loves each of us, it is easy to be a strong arm for another. Christ calls us to encourage each other in the faith; it is a true privilege to serve each other out of kindness and in Christian love. There will come a day when you and I will need a little extra help to walk the road. Be sure to look for new ways to encourage the people God has placed on your path. This gift of encouragement is a daily presence that keeps on giving and giving. It is the double portion.
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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