Lent 2009 (13) – Hang in with those who are hanging back

Be at peace among yourselves. We urge you, our brothers, warn the idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 1 Thess 5:13b-15

Get along among yourselves… Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. 1 Thess 5:13b-15

Paul identifies those who are in need of special care and attention. The word which is used for “idle” (or in some translations “lazy”) really means quitter. The Message refers to them as “the stragglers”. Every church has its stragglers – those who are faint hearted and those who always fear the worst. Barclay uses the lovely phrase “Cling to the weak”.

Paul is trying to help stronger Christians to encourage their weaker brothers and sisters to be confident in their faith. We are encouraged to make a deliberate attempt to encourage people and to prevent them from slipping away. Building bonds of love and fellowship, care and support can be especially help prevent people from straying.

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