4th August 2023

Unwell in bed the other week, I appreciated a double dose of Sunday worship: a service on Radio 4 with the recently appointed Bishop of Llandaff, the Rt Revd Mary Stallard (Sunday Worship, 16 July 2023), followed by the service from Tyndale online.

The Bishop spoke of the little encouragements she’s received since stepping into her new role, sharing: “it’s a big new challenge for me, and sometimes it feels rather overwhelming”. She recounted how she bumped into someone she’d met many years earlier. The woman pulled a letter out of her handbag that the now Bishop had written to her long ago. She described how over the years, during hard times, she’d return to that letter, which listed some of her gifts, and how it had comforted her. Finding out about the impact of that letter had in turn been an encouragement to the Bishop.

With gratitude, I started recalling all the people across the years who’ve been encouragers to me. Could I become an encouragement to some of them by sharing my appreciation of the difference they had made to me?

It’s heartening to think that perhaps when we have opportunities to encourage others, that the seeds we sow might multiply and bear fruit beyond our imaginings.

Who might we be an encouragement to today – friends, family, work colleagues, people at church, strangers…? Will we seek out those opportunities?

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Ruth Allen