I apologise to my regular readers for the recent blog silence. A combination of particularly heavy work demands and a really bad cold that just hasn’t wanted to stop have usurped my blogging time and energy.
But I wanted to leave you a quick thought from today’s sermon.
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
So here’s my challenge for you. Next time you go to church, look around at your brothers and sisters — every one of them, not as a group, but as individuals. You are supposed to be “considering” them — thinking about them, giving real thought and consideration to them. (I suppose that means if you don’t know them you’ve got some work to do. How can you be giving real thought to someone you don’t even know?)
And what are you supposed to be considering? “How can I provoke them to love and good works?” What can I do to encourage, challenge, motivate that person to be a better Christian? So when you look at those people, ask yourself — “What have I done recently to help that person be a better Christian?” Look at them, one at a time, and ask yourself that question, and if the answer is simply “nothing,” well, I guess you know what is needed.
It doesn’t say you are supposed to make their lives easier or more comfortable, though that may come into it at times. It says you are supposed to be doing things that will “provoke” them, incite them, to do good and to love (God and others) more. And if you don’t know what you can do, well, you are supposed to be THINKING about it, considering it.
You might even do something drastic and PRAY about it — “Lord, help me to see how I can help Joe be a better Christian. And Susan, too. And Peter. And Melissa.” That is the kind of prayer the Lord delights in answering. Pray for people by name, not about what THEY should do but what YOU should do to motivate them to godliness.
Don’t leave it until Sunday to think about it, to “consider.” You can’t really be giving consideration if you leave it only for Sundays. Start praying and considering now. Maybe by the next time you see your brothers and sisters, some of the things you should be doing will become clear.
Maybe there is something the two of you could do together to help someone else. Maybe if you asked him if he wanted to do it with you, he would — and you would have “provoked” him to good works! What would happen if you asked her if there is a Bible verse she read recently that caught her attention? Wouldn’t you be encouraging her in her Bible reading if she thought it mattered to you? Maybe those aren’t the right things to do with that person — but if you think about it, consider it, talk to them looking for something to do, there will be something.
Or…. You can just stay home, and disobey the next verse, verse 25. But many people would never do that — they’ll be there when the church meets, you can count on it. But if you sit there in your seat in the church building and think about yourself and what you are getting out of this, and not about others at all, you aren’t obeying, either. You aren’t “considering,” considering what you are supposed to be there to do. You can make it all about you, or you can serve the Lord of the church who died to bring you into HIS fellowship to serve Him there.