Suggested Reading: 2 Corinthians 8:1-15
For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.—2 Chronicles 16:9
To assist, encourage and comfort are other ways of saying support. Sometimes people need to know they have the support of someone special or others. They may be going through a rough patch in life. Maybe someone close to them has gotten sick or even died and they need support to get through their grief and difficult time. Maybe they have lost their job. I heard a news story recently where a journalist is spending her last days on a job she has held for more than two decades. She’s not sure what she will do next, but she has phoned her friends and let them know she is going to need their support and patience. It’s good she has the kind of friends who will stand by her in her time of need. We all need friends like that.
I can think of times in my life when I needed support from others. Many times, people have assumed that because I am a pastor’s wife, I do not need support. They could not be farther from the truth. Any ministry spouse can attest to this truth.
As believers we always know we have the Lord’s support. From Genesis to Revelation God reveals himself, not only as our Creator and sustainer, but as our highest and chief support.
Jesus was so concerned about the disciples need for support after his departure he not only promised to send the Holy Spirit to be with them but he made them community so they would have one another to lean and depend upon.
Everyone needs support at one time or another. Even now, as you read this you might be in need of support in a special way. I pray that you have what you need. I know from experience he will hear your prayers and petitions and supply your need.
The word encouragement means to “give support, confidence or hope to someone.” In the Bible Barnabas was a person who had a passion for supporting others he took his passion of supporting to another level and sold some prime real estate then turned the proceeds over to the church so the money could be used to support those in need.
While we can’t all be like Barnabas, having real estate to sale or money to put toward a need we can all find ways to support others: words or notes of encouragement, phone calls, sitting with someone who shouldn’t be alone during an especially difficult time; all these are great support money can’t buy. If it is on your heart to support others the Holy Spirit will be more than willing to show you how and inspire you to do so. Think of the times you have seen someone you care about experiencing a time where they just needed a little support, how it was your joy, not burden, to support them, to do what you could to make their day or job or life a little easier. I try to do this with my husband and even my adult children and grandchildren. Even though I may offer words of encouragement, I want to do more, to make the invisible, visible, tangible.
Supporting others in their time of need is not only our joy and great reward it is also one aspect of our Christian duty. Even though it will not feel like a duty or task, more like an honor to come alongside someone in this way. When we support others we are simply coming to another’s aid to help, encourage, comfort, and even exhort.
I like this verse Paul writes in Colossians when he writes, “Jesus is the visible image of an invisible God (Col. 1:15). God takes his love, encouragement, and support and makes it visible. He manifests his comfort and support in tangible, touchable ways. He always finds a way to make the invisible, visible. Paul received support from fellow believers all the time. Sometimes they visited him while he was in prison, sent needed items to him to make his stay in jail bearable. Sometimes they supported his work and ministry among other churches with offerings, and all the time they supported him through their prayers. And Paul, like Jesus often had places he would visit that made him feel supported, feel uplifted by the support of God and others.
I have a cherry blossom tree in my backyard. It’s my go-to place when I need quiet, need to unwind, need to be close to nature or just sit and read a while. It’s a tree so it cannot talk—but its physical presence and strength somehow lends comfort and peace, and in that way I am supported, at peace, reminded of the nearness and artistry of God; how big and creative he is. By the time I rise I am strengthened. I know god has used his own creation and nature to support and uplift me.
When we support others we are like my cherry blossom tree—only better! Our very presence, pledge of support to others goes beyond words, goes beyond Christian duty, and fulfills God’s grand design to always make the invisible, visible. Let’s Pray,
Dear God, your wonders never cease. The way you care for us, make your love and support visible; touchable. May we become extensions of you, just as Christ became the visible image of you, may we become the visible image of Christ to others, supporting them in their hour and time of need. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.