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.” – Hebrews 10:24-25
Join me in a little exercise. The day is December 31, 2019 (news flash: despite it feeling forever ago, only eight-plus months have passed since then! Wowza!), and you are celebrating New Year’s Eve with your favorite people. You reflect on the year that is drawing to a close and you look forward with excitement to the days ahead. After all, it’s the year 2020—a year whose numbers conjure up thoughts of clear vision! Hooray!
Can you imagine what our “celebrations” might have looked like if we’d known then what we know now? Instead of perfect vision, 2020 has rendered our eyesight as blurry at best. Blindsided is the more operative description! The current events have caused many of us to ask, “Is life as we know it finished?” These days certainly do feel like the Day of the Lord is quickly approaching. But Pastor Tim Armstrong gave me a different perspective on that Day as I listened to his sermon series on Obadiah.
Pastor Armstrong reminded us that the Day of the Lord doesn’t just speak of Christ’s return to reign over the earth. He said, “The Day of the Lord refers to any time God judges by entering into world affairs.” During this COVID-19 pandemic—the likes of which our generation has never seen—as well as the racial and political tensions that surround us, I certainly am sensing God “entering into world affairs.” And because I sense that, I also know that I need to heed the words of Hebrew 10:24-25. That passage instructs me to:
- consider ways to stir up myself and others to love and good works.
- not neglect meeting with my Christian Family.
- encourage others even more.
Do you see them? Two clear themes emerge in this passage: encouragement and fellowship. As followers of Christ we have both! As Christians, we can trust in the sovereignty of God. We have been assured by our Savior that no matter what happens on this earth, God already has secured our souls, and He is causing all things to work together for our good! We also know that He has planted us in the body of believers, with Christ Himself as our Head. We are not and never will be alone! Girded by truth like that, we can rejoice even in the toughest of trials! And we can share that joy with the people around us. Because we know for certain that God is faithful and that we can trust Him.
Friend, according to Pastor Armstrong’s definition, the season called 2020 is the Day of the Lord. It also is a foreshadowing of the ultimate Day to come. So many words are ricocheting around families, social circles, social media, and the news media these days. Everyone seems to have either a complaint or an opinion about our current affairs. But God has given His children a different message. He has gifted us with a message of hope to share with a needy world. That message is the Gospel. And He also has told us how to behave. Romans 12:12 reminds us, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” We are able to do that more effectively when we “stir one another on to love and good works…and encourage one another…” in fellowship with each other.
Therefore, friend, let us take up the words of Hebrews 10. Let us not neglect to meet together, but instead let us link arms with each other, sharing God’s hope, and all the more as we see the Day drawing near.