Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all [men].
See that none render evil for evil unto any [man]; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all [men].
(1 Thessalonians 5:14-15)
For the next 6 devotions, we will be looking at this word of encouragement from Paul to the members of the church at Thessalonica. Our devotions will center on the six exhortations given to us by Paul…
1. warn them that are unruly,
2. comfort the feebleminded,
3. support the weak,
4. be patient toward all [men].
5. See that none render evil for evil unto any [man];
6. ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all [men].
In this morning’s devotional we will be looking at the second of Paul’s exhortations to us. Please keep in mind all of these exhortations accomplish several things on our behalf:
1. They show our love for the Lord and others
2. they help us to build a Godly testimony in the eyes of all who see us
3. and they benefit those that we are helping. If we help one who is saved we are aiding them to grow spiritually. If the one we help is without Christ, we are pointing them to Christ through our acts of love and kindness to them.
comfort the feebleminded
What does the Bible mean by the term feebleminded? The word translated “feebleminded” comes from tow Greek words that are fused together:
1. oligos – means “small, weak, faint or susceptible”.
2. psuche – means “will, spirit, or desire”
To be “feebleminded” means to be fainthearted or to be weak willed, lacking courage and/or desire
We are told to “comfort” those who are faint of heart. Again, this word comes from a fusion of two Greek words:
1. para – “to be near”, “to stand by”
2. mueo – “to instruct”, “to reveal mysteries”
This implies two principles… to accompany someone and to teach someone.
In other words, to be of “comfort” to someone teaches us that we are to stand near to the fainthearted, giving to them words of encouragement that is meant to strengthen and encourage them.
Folks, when we see someone who is struggling with doubts and fears in their life what are we to do? We are to approach them, stand with them as they face their fearful, discouraging situation and speak words of encouragement and strength to them.
One of the greatest Biblical examples of a human encourager is that of Barnabas. Although Barnabas was not his birth name, he became known as Barnabas, which means “son of encouragement/consolation”, due to his many acts of comfort that he performed (Acts 4:36-37).
Let’s see a few Bible accounts of how Barnabas encouraged others …
1. Barnabas encouraged others by giving materially to those in need. (Acts 4:34-37)
2. Barnabas supported Paul in the face of many doubters.
He overlooked Paul’s past and trusted Paul’s testimony of salvation and his desire to serve Christ. He placed his own reputation on the line by recommending Paul to the many doubters. (Acts 9:26-27)
3. Barnabas encouraged others by verbally encouraging them to continue in their service to Christ. (Acts 11:22-24)
4. Barnabas encouraged Paul by giving up his personal pursuits to physically accompanying him on his missionary journeys. (Acts 13:1-3)
5. Barnabas trusted Mark’s testimony of repentance and his desire to serve Christ in the face of a doubting Paul.
This was very similar to how Barnabas had trusted Paul’s testimony following Paul’s salvation and calling. How sad it was to see that Paul was not willing to do for Mark what Barnabas had done for him (Paul). Eventually, it was proven Barnabas was correct in believing John Mark and Paul actually called for John Mark to be at his side (Acts 15:36-39, 2 Tim 4:11).
Folks, if we dedicate our lives to serving others, by seeking to encourage the hearts of the downtrodden, we too, will be known as “sons (or daughters) of encouragement”. May we all leave behind the personal testimony that Barnabas has left behind for us to emulate…
“For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith:” Acts 11:24
May we all be willing to give of our personal, worldly, pursuits to dedicate ourselves to encouraging those who are weak and faint of heart.