[Let us] not [give] up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but [encourage] one another. Hebrews 10:25
I grew up the firstborn son of a Southern Baptist preacher. Every Sunday the expectation was clear: I was to be in church. Possible exceptions? Maybe if I had a significant fever. But the truth is, I absolutely loved going, and I even went a few times feverish. But the world has changed, and the numbers for regular church attendance are not what they used to be. Of course, the quick question is why? The answers are many and varied. Author Kathleen Norris counters those answers with a response she received from a pastor to the question, “Why do we go to church?” He said, “We go to church for other people. Because someone may need you there.”
Now by no means is that the only reason we go to church, but his response does resonate with the heartbeat of the writer to the Hebrews. He urged the believers to persevere in the faith, and to achieve that goal he stressed “not giving up meeting together” (Hebrews 10:25). Why? Because something vital would be missed in our absence: “encouraging one another” (v. 25). We need that mutual encouragement to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (v. 24).
Brothers and sisters, keep meeting together, because someone may need you there. And the corresponding truth is that you may need them as well.
What are the top four reasons you either go to church or don’t go? How does knowing “someone may need you there” make you feel about meeting together?
Heavenly Father, as I meet with others to worship and praise Your name, help me to also encourage others in Your name. Forgive me when I overlook the latter because I’m too preoccupied with myself.
Learn more about the importance of church.
The letter to the Hebrews was written to Jewish believers in Jesus who, due to persecution and hardship, were in danger of drifting from the faith. Therefore, it makes sense that the author would remind them of the confidence they could have in Christ, for it provides an antidote for their doubts. The New Bible Commentary says, “The word translated confidence is found in four important contexts in Hebrews (3:6; 4:16; 10:19; 10:35). Fundamentally, it’s a confidence of free and open access to God . . . based on the unique sacrifice of Jesus (by the blood of Jesus).” As a result, the believers were encouraged to embrace the confidence that they were truly part of God’s “house” (3:6), to enter God’s presence confidently in prayer (4:15–16), to enter God’s presence in worship (10:19), and to maintain that confidence in living out their lives (10:35).