Often we get so focused on what we are doing and where we are going that we don’t notice what is going on around us. It’s almost like we have blinkers on and we ignore people or not see what they are going through, what they are struggling with or what is impacting them.

Jesus said in John 13: 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” 

1 Thessalonians 5: 12-15 “Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.  And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.  Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else”. 

Reflection from the above scriptures:

1. Warn those who are idle and disruptive. 
What Paul is referring to when he says ‘warn’, then ‘encourage’ and then even ‘help’. It means “to draw alongside”, particularly with people who are stuck in a particular way of living. For example, those who are in a cycle that they can’t get out of and have lost hope or they spend all they have and are stuck in cycle of debt, or even some sort of addiction or family dysfunction.

2. Encourage those who are disheartened.
Here Paul is referring to those who have lost hope. When Paul talks about this group of people the word he uses to describe this group is a word that means small souled. They are continually beaten down to the point where they have no hope at all of getting away from or out of their circumstances.  This could refer to those who are feeling trapped in a situation of domestic violence, patterns of family dysfunction, maybe victims of abuse – they can’t see a way out.

3. Help the weak. 
This refers to those who are temporarily overwhelmed with the stress of life. They literally don’t have the strength to go on physically, morally or even spiritually.  Such people in this situation could be those who are experiencing burnout or depression.

The hope of people in society today is in us - the church.

Bill Hybels once said: “The local church is the hope of the world”

Every person matters to God therefore they need to matter to us no matter who they are or what circumstances they find themselves in. We cannot simply walk or drive around with our blinkers on. Our society needs us to step up and step into their circumstances.

We might not change the world but you will change the world of that person!

Jesus said, “As the father has sent me so I am sending you”

Discussion Questions
1. Describe briefly how has God spoken to you through this message?

2. What would it mean for you to ‘take your blinkers off’?

3. Who do you know that has lost hope that you could begin to walk beside?

4. When you think about your workplace what does it mean to you to know that you are ‘sent’ into that place by Jesus?

5. Take a moment to pray for people who you personally know that have host hope and need encouragement & help.

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