But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:13)
A theme that’s beginning to emerge already in Hebrews is perseverance. Clearly the recipients of the letter were under some duress because of their faith. Marginalised and suffering some form of persecution, it would be easy for them to give in to the pressure and give up their new faith. But the writer is warning them not to. In giving up they risk suffering the same fate as the ancient Israelites who experienced deliverance from Egypt, but never got to enter the promised land. He’s telling them there’s a wonderful prize worth persisting for. In all of this, he encourages them to encourage, and to do so daily. They exercise a responsibility to each other to ensure everyone stands firm in the faith. Encouragement is the steel that stiffens resolve.
As a pastor I’m encouraged by regular and heartfelt encouragement from people in our church. Every time I receive an email, text, note or call of encouragement my spirit lifts. In fact, I have an email folder simply to keep all of the encouraging emails I’ve received over my time at Newlife. I’ve never gone back to it, but the simple fact it exists is a blessing. Today I’m invited to encourage others as I’ve been encouraged. In doing so, I want to be personal and specific. Who is God calling you to encourage in a similar way today?
Father, than you that you have surrounded me with people with the gift of encouragement. Help me to grow in the same gift. Amen.