One of the things I learned competing in sports was that the excellent performance of one person could raise the spirit and performance of an entire team. You see this a lot in college and professional sports. Broadcasters talk about this phenomenon as “momentum.” If you’ve ever been a part of a team, likely you know what that’s like. The interesting thing is that even when you’re playing a relatively solitary sport like chess or golf, if you have teammates and they have success, they can boost your confidence and subsequently your ability, too.
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, – Ephesians 1:15-16, ESV
The faith of those believers in Ephesus were encouraging to Paul. They caused Paul to pray constantly about them, giving thanks to God for them and remembering their needs in his prayers. The Ephesians gave Paul momentum in His calling. They gave him momentum in His own relationship with Jesus Christ. We aren’t told that they didn’t anything special. There was no megachurch building being built. There wasn’t some great commissioned artwork of the martyred apostles on display. There wasn’t a national youth rally with special music and worship. Rather, it was simply believers living out their faith and responding in love towards other believers. That’s all it took to inspire Paul and to give him the momentum he likely needed to face the trials before him.
You can have the same effect on believers around you. A lot of churches have such structured services now that we don’t spend any time with respect to folks giving testimonies. Or if we do, it’s about big things. The big things are inspiring and we should praise God for them and we should take time to hear them. However, God so often works in the little things. We have coincidences that aren’t any such thing. We have cases where we trusted God and went against the world and were blessed in the end. Folks focus a lot on worldly measures like better pay, a better job, a new house, or a more important position. Sometimes God responds that way. But more often God responds in ways that are immeasurable by the world’s standards. For instance, when we walk away from a bad situation and have no idea what we’re going to do next but we have an incredible peace about it. That’s a blessing. Or situations like when God takes our tragedies and gives us the ability to minister to someone who is just beginning theirs. That’s a blessing, too.
Those kind of everyday stories are likely what was so inspiring to Paul. If we are honest with ourselves, they are inspiring to us, too. After all, that’s why books that talk about these little miracles have sold so well. When we live out our faith and then share it, we encourage other believers around us. We build momentum in their lives and ours, in their churches and ours, and in the Church as a whole. Live your faith and let it be an encouragement to others. Ask other believers about when God has answered their prayers and responded to their faith. Let those testimonies be an encouragement to you. Let us encourage one another so that we may live our lives as a thanksgiving offering to God our Father through His Son, Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:17).