A Slice of Encouragement

IMG_1657for Sunday, January 12, 2013
Baptism of the Lord
Year A
lectionary focus: Matthew 3:13-17

When I was growing up, my mom made great cheesecake. Everybody loved her cheesecake. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, we were always excited because we knew that she would make her cheesecake no matter what. Then one year, Mom could not make the cheesecake. Her work kept her at the office right up to Christmas and she had no time. So she told me to make it instead. Sure I was in college and I had helped her before, but the cheesecake was Mom’s thing. I couldn’t do it! I shouldn’t do it! But Mom said that it needed to be done and anybody can do anything with just a little bit of encouragement; she thought I could make the cheesecake and I should just go ahead. So I did. It wasn’t as pretty as Mom’s cheesecake, but it was pretty good tasting. Mom thought it was awesome. Since then, I’ve made a bunch more cheesecakes. Something I never really thought I would be able to do, but with Mom’s encouragement, I do it.

In our Bible story today, Jesus has grown up and is starting His ministry. He goes to the River Jordan where His cousin John is preaching and baptizing. When Jesus walks up, John is startled. He says No! that he can’t baptize Jesus; it should be the other way around. Jesus smiles and tells John to go ahead and do it. Let it be so.

I understand John’s hesitation. To baptize Jesus? Oh, no, thank you. Not me. I’m not good enough. I’m guessing John was thinking the same thing. But that is Jesus’s message to us: We are good enough. We can do it. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus encourages people to do things they don’t think they can do. And of course they can, and they do.

We all know that Jesus told us to love one another. And one really big way to love one another is to encourage each other. We can support each other. We can fill each other with hope and confidence so that we are able to step up and do what needs to be done.

Everybody needs encouragement. And I think you guys are good at seeing those people and telling them what they need to hear…that you believe they can do what needs to be done; that they should go ahead and do it; let it be so. I encourage you to do what Jesus calls us to do and spread a little bit of encouragement.

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)

Dear Lord,
Thank You
for encouraging us.
Help me
to encourage others
so that we can do
what You need us to do.

We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and ENCOURAGE.
Once again, you go guys! You can do it!

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