A voice from the balcony

'Encourage one another and build each other up.' 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV

A famous singer was to perform at the Grand Opera House. The concert hall was packed. Suddenly the house manager announced, 'Ladies and gentlemen, I regret that due to illness our special guest will be unable to perform this evening. But we've found another singer, an equally great talent, so would you please give her a warm welcome.' The crowd groaned so loudly that nobody even heard the singer's name. You could feel the disappointment. The stand-in singer gave it everything she had but when it was over all she got was shallow applause followed by uncomfortable silence. Suddenly there was the sound of a little voice from the balcony, a child shouting, 'Mum, you're amazing!' All of a sudden the crowd jumped to its feet and gave her a standing ovation that lasted for several minutes.

There are people around us today who are hurting, crumbling under the load they silently carry, who never hear the words, 'You're amazing.' Why? (a) Because we're too embarrassed to say it to them; (b) We don't think they need to hear them because they seem so strong.

Listen to what Paul writes, 'There was no rest for us... Battles on the outside and fear on the inside. But God, who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged us by the arrival of Titus. His presence was a joy... so was the news he brought' (2 Corinthians 7:5-7 NLT). Even the apostle Paul needed encouragement!

So what now? God needs more people who shout out from the balcony. You can be one of them.

Soulfood: Lev 11:1-13:37 Mt 5:27-37 Ps 42:6-11 Pro 1:24-28,

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