We are encouraged to consider one another to stir up love and good works. Similarly Paul wrote to the Galatians, “Therefore as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10).” So how can we bless others, stir up love and good works and put this into practise?
‘Consider’ in this context requires ‘concentrated thought’[i] and means to make ‘careful investigation’ or ‘careful study’.[ii] Our influence and company should have the effect of stirring people to love and good works. John Owen noted that love and good deeds are the fruit of saving faith and love is the spring and foundation of all acceptable good deeds.[iii]Wiersbe adds that fellowship with God must never be selfish, and the emphasis should be not on what we can gain but what we can give.[iv]
Attending fellowship is never a neutral experience and has immeasurable potential for blessing others. Issues people are facing right now include loneliness, isolation, illness, loss of loved ones and economic pressures. We can call people and zoom them and listen carefully and respond to their needs. A card with an encouragement will likely be read several times and if it is rooted in God’s word will provide consolation and strength. Where possible we can walk and talk and if permitted, meet people at their doorstep and help with financial needs with discretion. Having had COVID-19, I was really blessed by friends bringing groceries whilst we were isolated, and it made a noticeable difference.
Do we miss fellowship and long to fellowship in person? That is a good thing and is the way we are hardwired by our Creator. Our faith is personal yet a shared blessing. It is not just about Jesus and me and fellowship is vital. Some referred to in this passage were neglecting fellowship and the same is true today. The longer we leave it, the more problems arise in our spiritual walk and growth. I have been encouraged in the last few months to be able to reconnect some folk back in fellowship and it has been of mutual benefit.
I remember a pastor asking a group of us what aspect of our church life is most important. Spending time in God’s word is essential and so is prayer and evangelism is part of the Great Commission. Fellowship is crucial and something we are made to be involved in. Do we enjoy fellowship and look forward to it? We will spend much time in heaven in fellowship. The early church continued steadfastly with the breaking of bread, doctrine, prayer, sharing and fellowship.
Fellowship is an opportunity to encourage each other all the more as the Day approaches. There is a Day of Judgment and the Lord is coming back. Are we going to wait passively or fellowship all the more as the Day approaches and stir up love and good works? It has not been easy with COVID-19; though let us focus and carefully investigate how we can encourage each other all the more.
[i] Donald Guthrie Tyndale New Testament Commentaries Hebrews (IVP, 1993; Leicester), p215 [ii] Arnold G. Fructenbaum Ariel’s Bible Commentary Hebrews, James, I & II Peter, Jude (Ariel, 2005; Tustin), p140 [iii] John Owen Hebrews The Crossway Classic Commentaries Series Editors Alister McGrath & J.I. Packer (Crossway, 1998; Wheaton), p213 [iv] Warren Wiersbe A New Testament Study-Hebrews Be Confident Live by faith, not by sight (Victor, 2004; Colorado Springs),