day 2440: Others Before You, Part 2

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”

I was invited to an event that the national scholastic and leadership organization, Mortar Board, will be holding next month. Unfortunately, I can’t attend but I will be missing out as they honor Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) and author of the book, “Just Mercy”.  I’ve recently become aware of Bryan’s lifelong work and have visited the EJI Memorials and Museum in Montgomery, Alabama that his organization created.  But, more importantly, I have read and learned of the life he has lived in service of others.  Stevenson is a man of letters, intellect and tireless energy. He could have likely made as much money as he ever desired and risen to be a prominent partner in a distinguished law firm, but he chose another path, being the supporter and advocate of those who can’t represent themselves.  In Anthony Ray Hinton’s book, “The Sun Does Shine” (which is a great read), Stevenson on more than one occasion over decades kept Hinton hopeful and encouraged by ending each letter with, “Hang in there”.  Even as I write this, I am moved that such a simple expression of caring with three words kept a man encouraged and motivated for over thirty years.  It makes me wonder how many times I have missed my opportunity to be as encouraging?

Paul, Silas and Timothy were encouragers!  Yesterday we saw how they built up the Thessalonians and today we see how they do it again but this time they ask them to also encourage others.  There is a good lesson in this.  Before we can really be an encourager to others, we need to already feel encouraged ourselves.  What that tells me is that we need to work even harder at encouraging and supporting others so that they can pass it along.  If we want to really start something good today, find a few simple words and use them to encourage someone else!  Who knows, we might be making that difference between them wanting to move forward versus backwards.

Reference: 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (New Living Translation)



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