Last week was Camp at Coast, and several hundred kids and volunteers had a wonderful week of fun, games, and Bible teaching all centered around the Olympic theme of “RUN THE RACE.”
We took a long look at Hebrews 12:1-2 which begins with the encouragement to consider “the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds us.” That passage goes on and urges us to throw off unnecessary weight, run our race with patience and keep our eyes fixed on the Lord Jesus.
But it starts with the encouragement of a cheering squad!
How important it is to have people cheering you along in any kind of endeavor? All those athletes in Japan right now sure understand the value of an uplifting crowd. Because of the pandemic, 97% of the Olympic competitions do not have any kind of applauding fans.
Instead, they have come up with computer apps that allow you to upload encouraging videos or cheers. They have a gigantic message screen that flashes notes. They have set up video calls for the winners so they can connect with family and friends. They are even pumping in stadium noise to help set the mood!
But it isn’t the same. In a competition, there is nothing like the sound of your family and friends cheering you on with words of encouragement.
And it’s like that in everyday life too. We all need the affirmation and comfort of our family and a few dear friends. And as believers, we definitely need a cheering squad. Serving the Lord with intentionality takes effort. It is demanding to keep our eyes focused on our Savior. It requires self-discipline and passion.
We get weary in doing good. We tire easily. We get distracted. Self raises its ugly head and demands our attention. We get off track and don’t give our best effort.
And that’s when the “one anothers” of the New Testament come into play. Over 100 times, the scriptures give us specific instructions on how to treat one another. We are to comfort, serve, give, love, and support one another. And we are to cheer each other on.
Specifically, 1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
So, this week, let’s make sure we are all part of a very vocal cheering squad. Let’s reach out with a text or three and let a friend know we are thinking and praying for them. Let’s send an email of encouragement to a family member who needs a bit of cheer. Let’s whisper some support or praise in our spouse’s ear. Let’s write our kids a note of affirmation.
If we are going to stand on a podium someday and hear “Well done, thou good and faithful servant,” we all need a cheering squad. So, keep yelling!