Encourage One Another

Everyone is under encouraged. Everyone. 

I’m quoting from a former pastor who in truth probably quoted his favorite teacher. But it’s a truth whose veracity we don’t need to go far to ascertain. Whether from personal history or from our studies, we know how much a word of encouragement can mean to people. The writer of Hebrews in the New Testament says, “Encourage one another, and all the more as you see the day approaching.” He may have had a more significant day in view, but tomorrow approaches, well, every day. 

But why the admonishment? What is it about our lives that would make a biblical command necessary? And if we are asked, directed or commanded as it were to encourage others, then how are we to go about it? 

Earlier in the book (Hebrews 3:13) the author gives us a little more insight. “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

In today’s vernacular we might put it like this, “encourage one another because life is hard and it just gets harder.” 

Before our move to our townhome, we had lived in the same house for 22 years. In that time I learned the first name of only ten neighbors. Only ten from a neighborhood of over 200 homes. I resolved to do better in our new location. 

At first I would wave to our new neighbors whenever I passed them on my walk to get the mail. Nothing. While the weather was still warm I would sit out on our porch and drink my morning coffee; again I would wave to the neighbors as they left for a walk or their commute to work. We might exchange a quick hello, other than that, nothing.

And then for Thanksgiving my wife had a great idea. Remembering the small Whitman’s sampler chocolates we used to get in our Christmas stockings, we decided to get a few and put them in small bags to hang on the doors of our neighbors. Nothing extravagant, just a note letting them know we were thankful for them this year.

The response was a bit overwhelming. From handmade thank you cards to gifts in kind (who doesn’t like to receive chocolate?), our neighbors began to stop by and leave small gift bags on our doorstep, always signed with their house number. Earlier in the year I had let our own small group Bible study know that one of my goals for 2020 had been to learn the names of my neighbors, and how poorly that was going. Now the names seemed to be pouring in!

From small gift giving, to conversations on the sidewalk, we have been getting to know our neighbors. We haven’t had to wait for another Snowmageddon to bring the community together in a massive one-time shoveling event. Even now we are considering how we might continue to encourage one another. I’m hoping for something along the lines of a 4th of July children’s parade and hotdogs, only perhaps a little sooner than July.

With our erratic weather we could still be in for a big snow storm in the new year. But at least when it arrives, I can call my neighbors by name. And that might just be the encouragement we need during these difficult times.

2 thoughts on “Encourage One Another

  1. I’ve found that quite inspirational.
    Garvin and I have owned 3 houses. The first, a new build, in a circle, we knew all our neighbours, were on first name terms and borrowed one another’s equipment, baby sat etc.helped one another. That was 1974-86. The next 1986-2006, again although both of us were working, we knew and ate and drank with our neighbours. And babysat, although by that time people owned their own equipment, or did less diy! And so less exchange of goods.
    Here, in our retirement bungalow, despite being a small cul de sac, we all inhabit our back rooms and the fences are tall. We know one or two people. Then at the beginning of the Covid outbreak, we all went out to clap for the nhs, and that helped.
    Also, a lady and her daughter across the road brought chocolate truffles before Christmas, just as you did. A very good ice breaker.
    The problem is no one walks much now, whether through disability, or disinclination, so people don’t pass on the street. The opportunity is not there to break down the fences.
    An effort is required for 2021. And that’s my new year resolution.

    (Garvin is not at all good at the moment; we’re hoping for improvement. In November he was getting better and mobile, but things deteriorated on@ 1 December, and he is in pain throughout his body whenever he moves, so needs constant care right now. I’m using the opportunity to paint )

    All the best Ron and Deb. One day we may meet!


  2. Thank you for your comments! We’ve found that our new community is more mixed in ages than our previous one, so that’s a plus. And it seems here in Ashburn many more people are out walking, usually with their dogs, than where we were living. We love it, we have families with newborns living next door to retirees, exactly what we were hoping to find when we moved here. Best wishes for the New Year, praying Garvin’s health improves.


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