[Let us consider] not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another. (Heb. 10:25)

School has just started in our city. An elementary school is located a block from our home. Each morning, I watch parents and children biking or walking on the way to the classrooms.

But today is special. It is the first day of school. My attention was caught by one particular child. He had on new clothes and a backpack filled with supplies. He clutched tightly to his mother’s hand as they passed my house.

His very first day at school. He looked anxious, fearful, uncertain. He gave all appearances of wanting to be home rather than going into the unfamiliar. My heart went out to him as my eye caught his. I waved heartily to him and gave him a big thumbs up. His face brightened, and he returned my thumbs up. He looked up at his mother as if to say, “Maybe it’s going to be OK, after all.”

I stood on my front porch for a few more moments and thought: Who hasn’t had their share of fear and anxiety in new, unfamiliar situations? Who hasn’t needed some small reassurance—a smile, a hug, a thumbs up?

Those small, fleeting gestures are gifts from God. Without encouragement, our will to go on wanes. As God’s ambassadors, we are encouragers telling others that God is near, that we are not alone, no matter how frightened we are.

Encourage someone who seems unsure or anxious.

Drexel Rankin is a retired ordained minister who has served full time in Indiana, Alabama, and Kentucky. He and his wife, Patty, currently live in Louisville, Kentucky.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.
Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.