The book of Hebrews is written to Christians whose life is difficult and whose faith is hanging by a thread. Many seem ready to quit, to walk away and turn back to the way of life they lived before they began to follow Jesus. To urge them to keep going, the writer reminds them of people in the past who kept walking “by faith” in the face of great obstacles (Ch 11). These faithful of old now form a “great cloud of witnesses,” watching and cheering as the church presses on.
But the Hebrew writer knows something else. If we are to keep moving forward and finish the race, then it sure does help to not just have people from ages past cheering us on from the celestial stands. We need friends, a community, a faith family, people in our lives that are in our corner. So the church is urged to stay connected, stay committed to one another (10:25). Church involvement has never been a check list. It’s community. Church was never intended to be a burden. It was always designed to be a blessing to help one another with our burdens. You need others and others need you. You need support and you can give support. You need the encouragement of others and others need your encouragement.
And that’s a message that surfaces several times in the book. Find ways to spur one another one to be the most loving, deepest serving versions of yourselves that you can be (10:25). “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “today…” (3:13). In other words, every day is a good day to encourage someone else.
We need people who root for us after we have fallen, after life has beaten us down and we aren’t sure if we will be able to get back up and walk again. We need family and friends who show up to cheer little victories. We need others that we might not know so well, or perhaps at all, who root us on as well. The church can be that kind of community. Rather than being quick to point out all the ways that people fall, what if we developed the reputation of cheering people on when they get up, when they rise, when they climb.
We’ve been in a prolonged stretch where getting together is extremely challenging. Now more than ever, we need to give and receive encouragement. Don’t wait. Reach out and lift up others as you would hope they would do for you.