But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.  Hebrews 3:13

I have a felt board in my kitchen that I use to rotate inspirational phrases or to celebrate a special day. Right now, it says, “Be the reason someone smiles today.” Let’s be honest, I picked the phrase because I need the daily reminder. During this season of being home with most of my family all day, some days are quite challenging. Quiet and patience are sparse.

In today’s reading from Hebrews, Paul tells us to encourage one another daily so that we may not be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. I began to unpack the meaning here and realized that, yes, as Christians we are called to lift others up and encourage one another, especially in regards to faith. When I think of the people who have impacted my faith journey the most, many of these people are a part of my church family. Most of the time, these people didn’t realize the impact they were making when I was encouraged or challenged. And the times they did realize they were making a difference in my life, it was amazing and beautiful for both of us. Recently, I had a neighbor who admitted a hard truth to me. My response brought her to tears. We both ended up crying in her front yard. It’s small moments like this where your faith is tested by your reaction.

Faith is such a wonderful gift God has given us as Christians. It needs constant attention to sustain and grow. When faith is not nurtured, we can be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Temptation creeps in. We begin justifying our sinfulness. Yikes. Thankfully, we are surrounded by a wonderful church family at St. Paul’s to help us hear the voice of truth. The truth of God’s love for all of us. Even though we are Zooming and worshiping in cars, we still have the responsibility to encourage one another. Think about the last time you made someone smile. It probably put a smile on your face, too. I pray we can gather together face-to-face soon, but in the meantime, I hope we can be the reason someone smiles today over Zoom, in our neighborhoods, in our workplaces, throughout the community, and in our homes. Amen!

Psalm 119:49-72, Psalm 49, Psalm 53; Deuteronomy 9:13-21; Hebrews 3:12-19; John 2:23—3:15