ISSUES OF FAITH: Remember to be inventive in your encouragement

“AND LET US consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV).

I like these two verses.

I want to emphasize the first verse, but I can’t ignore the second one.

This won’t surprise you, but a lot of pastors, including this one, like the second verse.

It’s a pastor’s “you should attend church” verse. And it’s true.

I’ve quoted it often, especially when responding to a myriad of reasons from people as to why they no longer attend church.

I’ve also heard many Christians express their belief that Jesus is going to return soon.

I, too, share that belief.

But how does that belief express itself?

It’s more that an idea.

It’s more than sound biblical doctrine.

It’s a biblical truth that should be the impetus for the words preceding it.

Transposing the two verses backward, the closer we come to the day Jesus returns, the more faithful we should be about gathering together as a church — and the more we should “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

I like that word “consider” in the first verse, and most translations use that word.

It’s a word that calls for reflection, for exploring possibilities, for weighing options in an effort to find good ones.

It’s constructive and positive, as opposed to destructive and negative.

Another translation says, “Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out” (Hebrews 10:24 MSG).

Inventive. I like that.

Are you inventive in how you love and help out other people?

I have become a big fan of Mike Rowe’s “Returning the Favor” on Facebook.

Mike Rowe is the guy who used to host a TV show on the Discovery Channel called “Dirty Jobs;” hosting “Returning the Favor” doesn’t require as many showers.

In “Returning the Favor,” Mike and his crew travel across America “looking for bloody do-gooders, people who are slightly better than us doing nice things for their community in a completely selfless way. We find them, we meet them … then we surprise them.”

One recent episode was about a group of women who volunteer to fix roofs for local residents in need.

The ladies were surprised to receive a bunch of new tools and a group vacation to Hawaii.

Another episode was about a married couple who rescue dogs to help veterans.

Semper K9 was surprised with a new dog training facility and a year’s worth of free dog food.

Each episode is only about 20 minutes long, no commercials, and almost guaranteed to make you laugh and shed a tear.

It’s inspiring to watch Mike and his crew find and encourage people who are helping other people.

They truly spur others on to love and good deeds.

We would all do well to consider how we can be encouragers.

An encouraging word.

A helping hand.

An act of kindness.

A listening ear.

Put the paper down and consider.

Explore the possibilities.

How inventive can you be?

_________

Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. The Rev. Greg Reynolds is pastor of Joyce Bible Church. His email is jbc@joycebiblechurch.org.

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