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Paul was a prisoner on the way to Rome in a ship caught in a terrible tempest. They were tossed, they had to cast out the tackling, they hadn’t seen the sun or the stars in days, and all hope that they should be saved was taken away. In the midst of this hopelessness, Paul said to the other 275 men aboard this ship, “I exhort you to be of good cheer.” Acts 27:36 says, “Then were they all of good cheer.” How in the world did Paul pull that off? What can we learn from what Paul did that will help us cheer up people when they are in difficult situations? Paul cheered them up:
With a cheerful countenance – Acts 27:22-25 – this isn’t the first time that the Lord stood by Paul following his arrest in Jerusalem. The Lord stood by him in Acts 23:11 after he was nearly pulled apart by the Pharisees and Sadducees in a council meeting. On that particular night, the Lord said to Paul, “Be of good cheer, Paul…”. Evidently, he cheered up.
According to Prov 15:13, “a merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance.” When your countenance is cheerful, it is naturally easier for you to cheer someone else up. It’s awfully hard to cheer someone else up with a countenance as grave as an undertaker.
With a cheerful report – Acts 27:22-25 – Paul had some news for the men on the ship that encouraged them, “there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you… God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.” Paul believed God and they believed Paul. When doctors give you a good report after treatment or a medical procedure, they really cheer you up.
We have the greatest news of salvation the world has ever heard. There is not a more cheerful report in all the world. Prov 25:25 says, “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.” Our far country is heaven and our good news is eternal life through Jesus Christ.
With a cheerful meal – Acts 27:33-36 – the men on board the ship were hungry and they needed something to eat, something that would nourish their bodies. They were all of good cheer when they had that meal. Prov 27:7 says, “The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” Zech 9:17 says, “corn shall make the young men cheerful.”
Some of you have brought great cheer to your fellow members who have been sick, by bringing them a meal (or several meals) to cheer them up. It may not seem like much to you, but you surely brightened their spirit. Prov 17:22 says, “A merry heart doth good like a medicine.”
Conclusion: you can truly cheer other folks up with a cheerful countenance, with a cheerful report, or with a cheerful meal. When you see someone who needs to be cheered up, cheer them up. When your heart is merry and your countenance is cheerful, you can cheer them up. When you have a good report to give, you can cheer them up. When you can fix them a much needed good meal, you can cheer them up.