Forgive the title…it could not be resisted. For many Christians, we have heard the phrase from Paul, “Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together” many, many times. So we go to church on Sundays, or watch online, and think we are done. But as per usual, there is a lot of context that we miss.
For example, that phrase is in the middle of a paragraph of exhortation by Paul. The entire thing reads, “24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10)
Simply going to church on Sundays completely misses the PURPOSE of the exhortation. Sure, we are to encourage one another, as he says at the end of the verse. I think we do do that. And yes, we can receive encouragement through hellos, hugs, worship, and the sermon.
But let’s think about that other phrase preceding verse 25, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” This is much tougher to do AND, much tougher to do with only hellos and hugs. The second verb in that sentence is “consider”. This is not a reactive verb where we look around us and wonder why others are not serving the way we are.
Considering is cautious, deliberate thought. It requires knowing one another well. It requires a relationship, built over time, where we can speak into one another’s lives. It requires honesty. And it requires receiving not only encouragement, but correction when we are NOT loving and participating in good deeds. It requires humility on all sides.
None of this can be accomplished on Sunday mornings alone. It is accomplished around a table. Consider this.