“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you seethe Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (English Standard Version)
I love yogurt. It is one those foods though, like eggs and hotdogs, that taste better when you don’t think about what it really is. Yogurt is formed when lactic acid bacteria convert a milk sugar called lactose into lactic acid through a process called fermentation. Yogurt is high in protein, calcium, vitamin B-2, B-12, potassium and magnesium and is believed to afford many health benefits. According to www.webmd.com/diet/features/benefits-of-yogurt, five benefits of yogurt are; 1) it may prevent osteoporosis, 2) it may reduce the risk of high blood pressure, 3) yogurt with active cultures helps the gut, 4) it may discourage some infections in women, and 5) it may help you eat less by making you feel fuller.
Lately the Lord has been showing me that life can be a lot like yogurt. Sometimes you have to stir it up to get the fruit off the bottom of the cup. I am an encourager by nature and tend to do everything possible to avoid confrontation. The other day I was reading the 15th chapter of the book of Acts about how Barnabas, the “Son of Encouragement,” and the apostle Paul did not see eye to eye about taking along a young man named John Mark along with them on a missionary journey. Mark was Barnabas’s cousin (Colossians 4:10). Since Mark had deserted Paul and Barnabas in a previous missionary journey Paul saw him as a liability, while Barnabas saw him as a future leader that needed a second chance. The Bible says, “they had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company, Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.” (Acts 15:39, NIV).
As I was thinking about this verse this week it occurred to me that sometimes taking a stand for something that you believe in can be a form of encouragement. To me, the point of this verse is not that sometimes believers fight, it is that Christ-followers must be courageous and stand up for “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable.” (Philippians 4:8, NIV) At the end of the day God used two very different early church leaders, Paul and Barnabas, to mentor a young man called John Mark and the gospel spread (Philemon 1:24, Colossians 4:10).
Dear Lord please forgive me when I don’t take a stand for you and others. Help me to be courageous and to see that sometimes the greatest act of love is to face confrontation. Help me to do this with grace, truth and love.
Image and information obtained from: http://textbookofbacteriology.net/lactics_4.html
Len I can totally relate to the running away from conflict and considering myself an encourager, never thought of taking a stand as an act of encouragement. Made me think, thanks for sharing.