(This message was originally published on January 8, 2015)
The sports world this week recognized ESPN anchor Stuart Scott, as he died this past Sunday. He was known for his charismatic and creative style as a sports broadcaster.
But, this week I have had the family and church of Brother Al in my prayers. Brother Al died this week after his own battle with cancer.
Brother Al was one of those men that make going to church even more joyful. He was a man who worked hard during the week. After being gloriously saved, he was also devoted to worshipping and serving the Lord.
I first met Brother Al almost twenty years ago. Fresh out of seminary, I was youth pastor to Al’s two children. They both are now grown and have children of their own. So much time has past, but Brother Al remained an ever constant encourager and active member of the church.
Even in the years that followed, whenever I was able to be back at that church, Brother Al always shared a warm smile, a word of thanks, and a hearty amen with me.
I guess it is his ‘hearty amens’ that I remember the most. Whether from a pew in the worship center, or from his chair in the choir loft, Brother Al was never bashful about encouraging you with a ‘hearty amen.’
Just the other week, I was preaching and someone said one of those ‘hearty amens.’ For a brief moment, I thought Brother Al was in the congregation.
Today, I simply want to encourage all of the brethren out there to never under-estimate the importance of being an encourager. You may think that you are just listening to your preacher, but rest assured your pastor(s) is listening to you too. I also want to encourage pastors to rejoice over the “Brother Al’s” that the Lord puts in our lives.
So, to all of the brethren out there who are such faithful encouragers, to those who are ministers of the Word – I simply want to say, “Amen!”
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV)