The Upper Room devotional reflection for Friday, May 22nd comes to us George Childree of Alabama.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NRSV 9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.
The swimming competition we were attending was crowded with preteen kids, including our two grandsons. Slade, the older of the two, had completed competition in his age group and was now at the side of the pool, rooting for his younger brother, Grant. Even over the noise of the crowd, we heard Slade calling, “Come on, Grant, keep going. You can make it!” As I watched him, I thought, He doesn’t care at all about what the crowd thinks of him and his jumping up and down and yelling. He’s more concerned that his brother finish the race.
When later I thought about the unashamed way my grandson encouraged his brother, I asked myself, “Am I as zealous as Slade in my encouragement for my brothers and sisters in Christ?” I’m ashamed that the answer is no. Unlike my young grandson, I am often inhibited by my fear of what others will think. Slade inspired me to ask God for forgiveness and also for boldness to encourage others.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, help us to reflect your nature in our actions toward others each day. We pray as you taught us, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil” (Luke 11:2-4, KJV). Amen.
– George Childree
Do you have an accountability partner, someone that not only encourages you but also holds you accountable to do the right thing even when it’s hard? For many, that accountability partner may be a spouse. For others, a trusted family member and still others have a best friend that fills this role. The author of Ecclesiastes underscores the need of having someone that can pick us up when we’ve fallen, failed or faltered. Yet, accountability goes both ways and requires a mutual willingness to be transparent. If your accountability partner is not willing to be held accountable, it’s time to have a critical conversation on the dynamics of the relationship.
As we continue sheltering-in-place, practicing social distancing and navigate the loss of loved ones from COVID-19, the importance of treasuring those close to us has been heightened. Let us not take for granted those who lift us in prayer, encourage us to believe in our capabilities and keep us on the path of wholeness.