“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Summer is coming and for most people, the responsibilities of life tend to slow down. School is out and you get to decide the day’s schedule. No need to pack the lunch, find the homework, or catch the bus. Even where I work, the home office of Rural Home Missionary Association, due dates and deadlines ease off a bit, less requests for information come in, and I can find time to work on projects that had been set aside in the midst of the busy season.
Many of us look forward to some days of vacation – preferably in the sun that has been missing for so long.
When life slows down, it feels like we can breathe again. We can enjoy doing less. Or perhaps it is that we have the freedom to choose what to do or what not to do. As we make those choices, we should consider the warning expressed by the writer of Hebrews, which applies to us even, or perhaps more so, in the slower days of summer. He warns us not to neglect meeting together, specifically referring to what we call our worship services.
Do you ever feel tempted to stay home from church “just this once”? Most Sundays I need to be at church to teach Sunday School or to play the piano. But when a Sunday comes along when I think I don’t need to be there, the temptation enters my mind. And yet . . .
We have a responsibility to fellow believers – to love each other, to encourage each other to remain faithful to the Lord, to do good deeds. We need each other. Dr. Thomas Constable’s commentary says, “Regular attendance at church meetings facilitates love for one another, because there we receive reminders and exhortations to persevere. It is only natural for one who has abandoned or weakened in his faith to absent himself or herself from the meetings of his or her church. However, this is the very thing such a person should not do. We need each other.” (emphasis added)
Notice that I don’t just need to be there, but that you need me there. Have you ever considered what an encouragement it is to your pastor and pastor’s wife that you consistently come to church services? By showing up you are encouraging others. It’s a time to listen to each other, to share your burdens, to pray for one another. I know that when I come home from church each Sunday – even the days I was tempted to stay home – my heart is lighter. I am smiling. I am remembering the joy of seeing my brothers and sisters in Christ. And I am encouraged to keep being faithful.
So, as you plan your summer days, plan to keep attending Sunday School and church – your presence there is an encouragement to others.
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