New International Version (NIV)
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
To me, the writer of Hebrews – whoever that may be (many believe it may have been Paul – http://www.biblica.com/niv/study-bible/hebrews) was saying – “Hey, I got your back on this Jesus thing. Now you cover each others back. And don’t stop meeting up on a regular basis, because that’s how friends lose touch and drift apart.” And the message of the Gospel is too important for that.
The writer knew following Jesus was not going to be a walk in the park, or dessert, so to speak. He knew there was going to be hard times. Threats. Beatings. Imprisonment and even death to some of the people reading that letter.
Who ever wrote Hebrews should go down in history as the greatest motivational speaker the world has ever known. Why? Well, 2013 years later, people are still carrying the Gospel message. And, right now, there are some of our brothers and sisters being persecuted just as hard as the early Christians were. Pray for them.
Here in America we have it easy. No one locks us up for being Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, or Islamic. But that doesn’t mean we should take the message of Hebrews 10:24-25 any more lightly than the original followers of Christ did.
In today’s world, we need encouragement. Don’t think so? Okay, when was the last time you walked up to a total stranger and asked them if they knew Jesus? Never, right. I haven’t either. I guess we could talk our way out of this duty by saying “we’re not gifted in preaching.” But that’s a cop out. We’re just afraid of what others might say or think. I admit I am.
And that’s what makes these verses so important. We need to meet together regularly and encourage each other in our walk and in our outreach. Alone, we start to slip. Together, we can stand tall and strong. I recall some verse that goes “Two are better than one and a cord of three strands is not easily broken.”
But what does meeting together really mean? Does it mean we should attend church. Yes. But I think it means much more than that. It means getting together on the phone, over coffee, over dinner. “not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,”.
We live in a world of enormous connectivity. Facebook. Twitter. Email. Text Messages. There is no excuse to fail to connect and encouraging one another. But it takes intentional effort. It takes you and me making an appointment to hook up with other believers. And non-believers as well. It takes clearing time on our schedule for this purpose. And it may cost us a few bucks to buy someone coffee or have them over the house for dinner.
Again, the writer said – don’t give up. Don’t let anything stop you. So — what’s stopping you?
I can just see myself standing before God and Him asking this: “Frank, you were part of a church. You attended regularly, but you never reached out to meet people who needed your encouragement. Why not?” “Uh, I was busy, God. You don’t know what it’s like down there. I had bills to pay and the kids needed transportation. The lawn had to be cut. There was shopping, errands, and American Idol. Alright – the idol thing is a bad example – but God, I just didn’t have the time?” Can you guess what God would say to that?
Ridiculous isn’t it? I mean when you really look from the heart – none of those excuses mean much do they? So what’s really our excuse? The truth is – there is no excuse. It’s just that I can be lazy. I’d rather stay in my warm, little cocoon than venture out and actually get to know somebody. Well, that sort of ends this week.
My amazing wife has invited two people from our church over for dinner. Now, we’ve known these people for years. Years. And have never had them over to our home to share God’s love with them. Shame on me.
Let us encourage one another to encourage one another. Let us show love to all we encounter. Let us make an strong effort, to meet together. More often than Sunday morning. I hope you will invite someone this week. This minute.
Thursday night our friends Jeff & Julie are coming over for dinner. I have a feeling – I’m going to benefit more than they will from our brief gathering. Why? Because when you give – you always receive. And that’s a powerful blessing.
Lord, encourage me to reach out to others in love. In Jesus name, I pray.
Praise Song: “I Refuse” – Josh Wilson. www.joshwilsonmusic.com