Devotions

The Cheering Squad

By Mary Loudermilk
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“Instead, God has blended together the body, giving greater honor to the lesser member, so that there may be no division in the body, but the members may have mutual concern for one another. If one member suffers, everyone suffers with it. If a member is honored, all rejoice with it.” (I Corinthians 12:24-26, New English Translation).

I’ve never been a real sports fan, but I know how important the crowd’s cheering is to those playing the game. Clapping, shouting, whistling, chanting—the roar of the crowd can lift flagging spirits and help them push on to victory.

Everyone, whether in sports or in life, needs a cheering section—people who give us that extra boost when life drags us down. And a “well done” when we’ve succeeded.

I once worked with someone who was going through a difficult time. Although we weren’t close friends, I tried to offer encouragement. I remember saying, “At least you have a good support system to help you through this.” She looked at me blankly and said, “I don’t have a support system.” Although successful in her profession, she apparently did not have any close friends to lean upon when life blindsided her. I could not relate to what she said. In addition to my close friends, I felt I had a whole church body ready to encourage me and pray for me whenever I might need help. I was part of a community of caring people.  I now realize not everyone is so fortunate. I feel blessed.

The passage in I Corinthians 12 speaks of the body of Christ and the place each of us fills within that body. I love the New English Translation which speaks of our “mutual concern for one another.” Within that community of believers, we are loved. We are important to each other. A whole team is ready to cheer us on as we run our race—our own special cheering squad. If we suffer because of difficult circumstances, they suffer with us. If something wonderful happens, they rejoice with us.  We don’t face life alone. We have God, and we have our brothers and sisters in Christ.

If you are on my cheering squad, then I need to be on yours as well. Don’t be embarrassed or hide your difficult times from me. I want to pray for you and with you. I want to support you in any way I can. But it’s not just about the bad times. Include me in the happy times too. Please share your successes and joys so I can rejoice with you. We are in this together!

When my church family cheers me on, I feel—

  • that I’m included and not facing life alone
  • that I matter to them
  • that they enjoy my successes, free of jealousy
  • that their encouragement motivates me to keep trying
  • that I have hope

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

Prayer: Lord, thank You for those You have placed in my life to strengthen and encourage me during the difficult times and to rejoice with me when good things come my way. Help me to show the same love and concern for others as they show to me. You are the One who demonstrates to us what true love and compassion look like. Thank You for the privilege of being part of this body of believers.

 

Mary enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and spending time with old friends. Although directionally challenged, she would rather take the back roads with their discoveries than the boredom of the interstate.

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