Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

Commanded to Encourage

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And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Heb. 10:24-25)

This passage is probably most famous for the command to not miss the weekly worship assembly, but this is not the only command we find in this passage. We are also commanded to “encourage one another.” Attending worship services is not enough. We must also be involved in the act of encouraging others.

The Hebrews church is struggling. They are contemplating giving up on the faith. The writer of Hebrews instructs them to continue to meet together, but he also tells them to “encourage one another.” The cure to their wavering faith is not only to attend worship, but also to put their faith into action. It is important that their faith be alive. It is important that they see the fruits of their faith in action.

The writer of Hebrews envisions the whole church coming together in this work of encouragement. The metaphor Paul sometimes uses of the church is that of a body. The body is composed of various parts and these parts must work together to accomplish the work of the church here on earth. Each one of us has an important part to play in the health of our congregation. We are all important to the body and if we are not doing our part then the body is not functioning as it should. We all must come together to encourage.

Once we understand we are responsible for encouraging others the next question is “How?” First, we must understand that we are not done after the closing prayer. The work of encouragement is often accomplished before services, after services, in the parking, and throughout the week. Encouragement is an ongoing practice. There are many ways to encourage, but I think there are two specific ways we need to focus on as Christians.

Relationships – The relationships we develop within a congregation are essential to the life and health of the church. We must work on developing relationships within the local church. This means that we will often have to be the instigator in forming a relationship. We will have to say hello. We will have to initiate the conversation. We will have to invite a person out to eat or into our home. If we want to develop relationships we cannot wait on someone else to make the first move. We must be proactive in forming relationships.

Conversations – We must work at having deeper conversations. I would estimate that most of the conversations before and after church services are not much different than conversations people have at work, the grocery store, or on the streets. We often talk about the weather, sports, news, etc. and rarely move beyond these types of discussions. We must purposely engage in more meaningful conversations. This means we must be good listeners also. When we ask a person how they are doing we should mean it. We should expect to carefully listen to what they have to say and respond. We should also focus on having more spiritual conversations. We should take what is discussed in worship and extend that conversation to the foyer.

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