Encouraging Words From A Boxing Match… Hello Hump Day readers—need a little encouragement? With mass-shootings at a Texas school, increasing gun violence, ongoing war in Ukraine, devastating wildfires out in the Southwest, and just the daily struggle to stay afloat in rising inflation is enough to be an Ostrich and stick your head in the sand.
Some of my favorite reads come from true stories of people’s lives. Some are famous, others are like most of us—getting through life. But I find it so encouraging that they share their stories to encourage others! In fact, the Apostle Paul wrote several times about encouraging one another, building one another up, etc. In 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11, his words wonderfully spoken from the Message Bible, still ring true today:
“God didn’t set us up for an angry rejection
but for salvation by our Master, Jesus Christ.
He died for us, a death that triggered life.
Whether we’re awake with the living or
asleep with the dead, we’re alive with him!
So speak encouraging words to one another.
Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this,
no one left out, no one left behind.
I know you’re already doing this— just keep on doing it.”
So, I found a story about encouragement from, of all things, a boxing match! I must admit, boxing is not something I like at all—too violent for my taste. But this true encounter caught my heart and since I’m pretty much Irish with some Scottish, I just had to share it!
Quite a few years ago during the world lightweight boxing championship match, a Scotsman was fighting against a man from the United States. Even though the Scot was the reigning champion many folks bet on the US boxer because he was 6 years younger. The match was being fought before a crowd of 20,000 in Glasgow, Scotland and the air was filled with much anticipation.
It didn’t take long into the match to realize this would be a very close fight. But something else began as well: singing! The song began to arise from the Scottish crowd—the volume of singing swelling louder and louder with over 100 male voices. Those from the USA couldn’t figure it out. One gent asked a Scot “singer” sitting next to him why they sing instead of shouting or booing. He replied with enthusiasm, “this is our country’s song and we sing it loudly to encourage our man. He can hear the song instead of rude shouts, and it reminds him that his country is behind him all the way.”
WOW—wouldn’t that be neat if you had something like that at a large sporting venue? Instead of middle-finger salutes and crude language, you would have a unified group singing a song of encouragement that could be heard throughout the stadium! I love that idea and that’s why I used this story for encouragement. Like the 100+ Scots in the group, we have over millions of brothers and sisters around the world—our fellow members of the body of Christ and it’s time we “lift up a song of praise” loud enough for others to hear.
Instead, our “song” is one of dis-unity. Daily we hear of bickering between denominations, horrible representations of faith in leaders who have sunk to pornography, molestation, lies, power-grabs, white-supremacy, etc. There is no encouragement in this, and the witness of our faith in the Lord is void, misleading, and opposite of what God wants to hear.
Think of a time when you had your “cheerleaders” – those who lifted up their voices to get you to the finish line, to give you that “you can do it!” perspective. We should never underestimate the power of an encouraging word. In fact, there are significant studies that prove our words of encouragement help those who are struggling.
Most of us know someone who is struggling, and if you don’t know, just think of the parents of those students killed in the massacre, how much encouragement do you think they need right now and for many months or years? Ask God to send you someone that needs your care and encouragement.
We’re all in a battle in this life-time, and encouraging one another gives us the strength to carry us through until we land in the arms of Jesus, where strife, struggle and pain are gone. Friends—this isn’t rocket-science—this is God’s love in action. So come on—let’s raise our voices in song and share the love of Christ to all who need it, AMEN.
P.S. As I finished this writing while up in the campground booth, a lovely Latino grandma brought in a fresh-baked loaf of bread for Al and me. How is that for encouragement?!!
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