Let us not neglect our meeting together, . . . but encourage one another. Hebrews 10:25 NLT
Denmark is among the happiest countries in the world, according to the World Happiness Report. The Danes weather their lengthy, dark winters by gathering with friends to share a warm drink or a gracious meal. The word they use for the feelings associated with those moments is hygge (hoo-gah). Hygge helps them offset the impact of enjoying less sunlight than their counterparts at lower latitudes. By circling around a simple table with loved ones, their hearts are nourished.
The writer of Hebrews encourages gathering together as a community. He acknowledges that there will be difficult days—with challenges far more significant than the weather—requiring those who follow Christ to persevere in faith. Though Jesus has made certain our acceptance by God through our faith in the Savior, we may struggle against shame or doubt or real opposition. By gathering together, we have the privilege of encouraging one another. When we’re sharing company, we’re able to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds,” which bolsters our faith (Hebrews 10:24).
Gathering with friends doesn’t assure us of a ranking on a “happiness report.” It is, however, something the Bible offers as a means to bear us up in faith under the common frustrations of life. What a wonderful reason to seek out the community of a church or to open our homes—with an attitude of Danish simplicity—to nourish one another’s hearts!
How has gathering together with others encouraged you? Who can you encourage with an open heart?
Thank You, God, that I can encourage other believers and be encouraged by them when we gather together.
For further study, read Understanding the Bible: The Letter to the Hebrews.
While the author of the letter to the Hebrews is anonymous, we’re given solid ideas about its intended audience. As the title of the book suggests, the first readers were Hebrews—in particular, Jews who’d come to faith in Jesus and were then scattered abroad due to persecution. Their Jewish identity is, in part, seen in the author’s use of temple and sacrifice imagery related to Judaism—then showing how the law was ultimately fulfilled in Jesus. But in examining the text of the letter, many scholars are convinced that, in addition to the audience being Jewish believers in Christ, they also were wavering in their faith. The presence of some strident “warning” passages seems to support that contention. However, in a number of passages the writer invites his readers to join him in the journey of faith, repeatedly using the phrase “let us” to express that invitation (see Hebrews 4:1,11,14,16; 10:22–24; 12:1,28; 13:13,15).