Even with the best motivations and intentions, and believing that we are on the side of God and goodness, working for the Lord can be difficult and discouraging. The sadness and pain of our world are real. This is one reason we need a church community. Jesus modeled this kind of supportive community with His disciples. He rarely sent people out on their own, and even when that happened they would soon come together again to share their stories and renew their energy and courage.
Read Hebrews 10:23-25. Hebrews 10:25 is the best known of these verses, so what do the preceding two verses add to our understanding of the well-known verse? What are some of the ways in which we can encourage each other “toward love and good deeds” (NIV)?
In almost any task, cause, or project, a group of people working together can achieve more than all of those people working individually. This reminds us again of the picture of the church as the body of Christ (see Rom. 12:3-6), in which we all have different but complementary roles to play. When we each do what we do best, but do it in a way that allows our influences to work together, we can trust by faith that our lives and work will make a difference for eternity.
While results are important when seeking to do what is right—the results are about people and their lives—we sometimes have to trust God with what the results might be. At times when working to alleviate poverty, to protect the vulnerable, to free the oppressed, and to speak up for the voiceless, we will see little progress. But we have the hope that we are working in a far greater and inevitably victorious cause: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Gal. 6:9-10, NIV, see also Heb. 13:16).
This is why we are called to encourage—literally, to inspire with courage—one another. Living faithfully is both joyous and difficult. Our God of justice and our community of justice are our greatest supports and what we invite others to join.
|Whom do you know or know of who regularly works at alleviating the suffering of others? How could you encourage that person or group in the good work they are doing?|