When life gets really busy, I turn inward. I focus on me and what I need to get done, because if I don’t all the noise and craziness of life will distract me. The problem is that I’m always busy, so it’s sometimes a struggle to think about other people.
I know. Spoken like a true single person, right?
And it’s true. Sometimes when you have a lot to get done, you need to hunker down and focus, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But when you make isolation a lifestyle, you’re not doing one of the most important things that God has for you do to—helping others.
Today’s verses are Hebrews 10:23-25.
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
I’m so introverted that I’m practically a hermit anyway, so hiding from people has never been difficult for me. But God didn’t call us to a life of seclusion. True, sometimes it’s good for you to get away to focus on God and your relationship with Him. But we’re here for a reason, to honor God with our life and to point people to Him. And we can’t point people to Him if we’re never around people.
I get so wrapped up in what I’m doing that I neglect to think about the people around me. I pray for people I know, of course. I keep track of what’s happening in their lives. But it’s one thing to know, and it’s something else to care. And in the very busy seasons of my life, I’m sorry to say that my level of caring hasn’t been what it probably should be.
According to this passage, we’re supposed to be thinking of ways to motivate others to “acts of love and good works.” What does that mean? It’s a fairly general statement, really. But I take it to mean that as Christ-followers, we need to be creating opportunities for ourselves and others to be Jesus in our world.
You can’t force anyone to be like Jesus. Being Christ-like has to come from a heart that truly desires to follow Him. I’ve been in lots of situations where authorities or teachers or mentors have tried to shove “being Jesus” down the throats of their subordinates, and it never works.
So instead of trying to force it on others, how can you encourage other Christ-followers to love like Jesus did, to serve like Jesus did? There are lots of creative ways, but it takes time to think of those creative solutions.
This passage also says we’re supposed to gather together with others. That’s church and/or Bible studies, small groups and life groups or whatever your family of faith calls them. And in those gatherings we’re supposed to encourage each other. Not preach at each other. Not bludgeon each other with our coffee-table Bibles.
And we’re supposed to be doing these things now more than ever because Jesus is returning soon.
But how can you do these things God is telling us to do when you’ve got too much to accomplish in your own life? How do you strike the balance?
Personally, I feel the answer to that question is in the first part of this passage. Sometimes you just have to do what God says without knowing how it’s going to work out. Maybe you don’t feel like gathering together with other Christians, but you know you’re supposed to do it. Maybe you don’t feel like investing time in providing opportunities to be Jesus to the world, but you know you’re supposed to do it. So you set everything else aside and do it anyway, trusting that God will work out the details.
Ever been there? I have. And you know what? God has never let me down. Not once.
There have been so many times when I didn’t feel like going to church, but I went anyway. And I ended up talking to someone who needed to talk to me or hearing something I needed to hear. There have been times when I didn’t want to motivate others to serve the Lord. Heck, some days it was all I could do to motivate myself. But God always blessed every moment I gave Him.
Time is short. The last days are here. God isn’t saying to abandon your personal goals and dreams, but we do need to find the balance between accomplishing our own work and supporting our brothers and sisters in Christ.
And we need to remember that God can be trusted to keep His promises. So whatever we trust Him with, whether it’s time or money or resources, He will always provide. He will always do the right thing for us. And He will never let us down.