The word “encouraging” appears over 50 times in the New Testament. In the ancient world, the Roman army would gather for battle against a worthy and fearsome opponent. Having experienced the terrors of war, the men would surely be afraid. But just before the battle, an encourager would come and tell them that they were the most powerful and well-trained army in the world and that soon they would be home with their families enjoying the spoils of war. It reminds me of my high school football coach in the locker room before a big game. He would give us the pre-game speech, and then we would run out of the locker room, believing that we could conquer the world! He made us believe that together we could do anything! Ever been there?
This is what the author of Hebrews had in mind when he wrote this passage. Meeting together is so important, so needed. The daily gathering together of the early church, and the resulting sense of community that followed, was a defining characteristic of what it meant to be a follower of Jesus.
Today that need is just as great for us as it was for them, and here is why. The Christian life is hard. It is, in many ways, a battle. It is easy to get discouraged. It is easy to get complacent. It is easy to think what we are doing will have no real impact on eternal things. But when we are together, we encourage one another to continue on. We encourage one another to love and to do good. It does matter! We need that. We need encouragement to keep fighting, keep serving, and to keep coming up with creative ways to love one another by letting the light of Christ shine through us. And the Day is quickly approaching when we will see the impact our serving has had on eternity.
ACTION STEP: Encouragement to encourage. Let me encourage you to encourage someone today. If you see someone straightening chairs, encourage them. If you see someone greeting people, encourage them. Tell them they are doing a great job, that what they are doing really is making a difference, that they were truly made for such a time as this!
PRAYER: Lord, thank you so much for the community that exists at WALK Church. Help me to go to church and to charge group every time I have an opportunity. And as I do, help me to look for someone to encourage this week. In Jesus’ name! Amen.