"Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works."
Many believers have heard that it is important to attend church regularly. The passage that is often used to support this admonishment is Hebrews 10:25. In this verse, the author of Hebrews writes, "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." The part of this verse that typically gets the emphasis is, "let us not neglect our meeting together."
This is a true and good encouragement. Christians should gather together regularly. But isn't it interesting that Hebrews 10:25 starts with a coordinating conjunction? The word "And" at the beginning of the verse tells us that something of similar significance comes before it. When we look at the context of the passage we see that Hebrews 10:24 reads, "Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works." If we put these two verses together we discover something very interesting.
The Bible is not telling us to simply attend church on a regular basis; as if going into a church building each week, listening to a sermon, and singing some songs is the goal. Instead, this section of Scripture exhorts believers to actively encourage one another to do what pleases God. In other words, we meet regularly (go to church) in order to inspire and motivate each other for mutual service and spiritual growth.
In many churches today, we have lost this social emphasis. Many congregations use a model where the regular attender pays a fee, aka a tithe or offering, in order to enable some hired professionals to put on a weekly program. The regular attender can then appear at the Sunday Show, passively watch the presentation, and then head off for lunch, all in a fairly predictable manner.
I am not making this criticism in order to suggest that it's better to skip church. Nor am I suggesting that we should not have paid clergy or large churches. This is not another cynical review of modern evangelicalism. Instead, my encouragement is for Christians to reconsider how a church service can be redesigned to create opportunities for active interaction between believers. How can we promote ways to motivate each other to acts of love and good works? That is your devotional question of the day. How can Hebrews 10:24 be done at your church?
(New Living Translation; photo credit: Wix media)