Normal church life is active.
Christians should not be passively inhabiting the pews. We live for Christ 24/7, serving Him in all that we do. And that means the churches ought to be actively loving and serving and doing good, often in the face of enormous challenges.
But with any activity, people often need encouragement and training to do the work God has called them to.
The church needs the church to do the church’s work. But all too often, people can get comfortable sitting in their pews and going about their routines and can be neglectful, even forgetful, about doing good.
In those cases, settled people need to be stirred up! The Book of Hebrews contains the following “one another” command:
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching (Heb 10:23-25, emphasis added).
I need you to stir me up to do good works, and you need me to stir you up.
We need each other.
One way to stir each other up is by exhorting each other—“Just do it!” we tell each other. Frankly, I’m skeptical of how effective that is. I speak from the experience of hearing hundreds of sermons where I’ve been encouraged to do many things that never got done. I think that’s just human nature.
Another way to stir up good works is by doing those works yourself and inviting others to come alongside and help. That way, people are engaged, see the need firsthand, and learn to help by doing.
For example, it’s one thing to tell someone to pray for the sick, and quite another to show someone how to do it by inviting him along for a hospital visitation. Isn’t that how we often learn? By doing? And isn’t that how we get motivated? By experiencing a need firsthand?
But for that to work, the church needs to be actively doing things.
Don’t get me wrong—I know that many are.
Just by looking at my Facebook feed, I can see that a friend has taken her two daughters to work with special needs children in Africa. Some men have gone to dig wells in Africa. And a local Bible school is reporting what their students did in Albania. Those are all illustrations of Hebrews’ “one another” command in action—believers stirring each other up to love, do good, and learn as they go.
Clearly, the churches show love around the world. But, as I’m sure you’ll also agree, there’s more good to be done and more love to show. Salvation is free, but helping your neighbors is not.
This passage in Hebrews includes the charge to assemble together. If you want to stir up love and good works, consider going forth together, too.