As I said good bye to by wife for a few days as she went on a trip, I quickly realized how much I appreciate her and love her. Yet for so many of us we don’t share those thoughts with one another very often. We don’t let those closest to us know how we feel, that we appreciate and love them, that we are blessed to have them around. So how do we change that so our family and friends know that they are appreciated and cared for? I might buy my wife some flowers just because, or clean the whole house to surprise her. I might take a day off of work just to spend time with my family or friends, take them out to dinner, or to see a movie that they want to see. We take time to thoughtfully do things that would show our affection and appreciation for our loved ones.
As I thought about this I reflected on times that I have neglected my friends and family, but then I thought what about my family at church? Read these words from 1 John:
“We love because God first loved us. If we say we love God yet hate a brother or sister, we are liars. For if we do not love a fellow believer, whom we have seen, we cannot love God, whom we have not seen. And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love one another.” (1 John 4:19-21, TNIV)
I stopped for a moment to think, if someone asked around today would this church know that their pastor loves them? Would they know that they are loved by one another? Just like our own families I think it can be easy to forget to show love and affection for our church family. We can begin to see one another as obstacles, hindrances, and frustrations, instead of people that we love deeply in our church family.
Have you ever thought about encouraging someone in the pew next to you, or reminding them that you appreciate or love them? There are so many people that I appreciate deeply in this church because they are gifted and skilled in ways that I could only dream about. There are others that I love because they are patient, compassionate, thoughtful, or a servant. God commands us in this passage to love one another as part of our church family as fellow believers.
Send a card to someone to let them know you are praying for them. Invite someone over for dinner that you appreciate and get to know them better. Take a moment after the worship service to thank our musicians for sharing their gifts. Be creative with this, but take the challenge seriously to encourage one another and build up this body. God continues to bring a unique group of people to this place to do his work and be his people in this community. Take a moment this week to let another church family member know how much you mean to them, and how much you appreciate them.