Read Romans 1:8–13
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.
11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectThink of a time when someone has really encouraged you, and how that made you feel.
Isn’t it heart-warming when someone tells you they thank God for you! Since the onset of his illness my husband says it to me all the time. I tell him the feeling is mutual, adding that I know he only married me because he thought a trained nurse might be a useful acquisition in time to come…
Paul thanks God for the Romans and the news that their faith has reached out into all the world (8). Faith is infectious! He wants to go to them and see a harvest of faithful living, as he has in other Gentile communities. He wants to share mutual encouragement, to see action coming out of prayer and prayer out of action. And he wants the people to know that they are not forgotten. He has tried to come to them but has been prevented (13). So, in the meantime, he continues to pray for them (9,10).
We too need to let people know that they are not forgotten. People who can’t get to church can very easily feel excluded. My church visits and takes gifts to the housebound at harvest and Christmas. The resulting encouragement blesses the giver, too.
Encourage someone today. Perhaps send them a little card so that they have tangible evidence of God’s love, and yours, to hold close.