As I was reviewing our activities in the busy month of December, I noticed that attendance at our Corporate Prayer meetings was down slightly. At the same time, however, some new individuals participated in the gatherings. So, while the overall number of participants was down, it was a blessing and an encouragement to have one new person participate.

This is a reminder to me that even one person can make a difference and bring encouragement to an individual or a group of Christians. Every act of faith or faithfulness, no matter how small, can have a big ripple effect, the way skimming one small stone on the surface of the water can stir the whole pond.

This shouldn’t surprise me but sometimes it does. The author of Hebrews says: And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

One kind word can pack enough encouragement to last a whole day. An unexpected guest at a meeting or a worship service can encourage a small group or church. An unexpected phone call can remind a person that you care and that they are valued. One act of faithfulness can bear much fruit, fruit that can last. Your presence, your participation, and your faithfulness matter. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but it may have a lasting effect on someone else, causing them to hang in there when they feel like quitting, or causing them to consider the Christian faith in a new light.

As we begin a new year, consider the power of a habit. A habit can cause you to come, and a habit can cause you to stay away. A habit can cause you to neglect meeting together, or a habit can cause you to plan to meet together. A habit can cause you to seek to encourage others and be encouraged yourself.

May God give us the grace to be encouragers within the Body of Christ in 2017!

Bill Sutherland