Sunday, October 1, 2017
I read the last chapter of Hebrews recently and realized, I think for the first time, what a perfect recipe it offered for ideal Christian community—-whether it be a summer camp, a church, a Christian fellowship or a village.
Hebrews, chapter 13, suggests nothing surprising or unique in the Bible, but remember, this book was written for a mature Christian community, that perhaps needed to be reminded of the basics for Christian living. It was not meant as sustenance for non-believers—but rather as food for followers of Christ who were still struggling in the dark world of the Roman Empire.
Here’s the counsel he closes with in regard to how we treat each other:
-Don’t stop loving one another—-i.e. regardless of what they’ve done, don’t stop loving each other! Why did he say this? Because Christian communities are always at risk of becoming indifferent to the others in the community. THAT’S why we make ourselves unite with other believers each week! To be REMINDED of the truth.
-Embrace and be hospitable to strangers—i.e. don't get too smug with those in your fellowship—always reach out to those not yet “in”. God does not want us too comfortable within our church membership or those at our camp! “Expand our borders—increase our fellowship!” must be our prayer.
-Remember those that are not with you because they cannot be—i.e. those in prison—or the hospital, or bed-ridden, incarcerated, or even out of fellowship because of quarrels and disagreements. Remember refers to “missing them” and wishing they were back! You will treat them different if you miss them.
Here’s the counsel he closes with in regard to how we live:
-Marriage should be respected and honored. We’re supposed to shine as the ideal in terms of how we conduct our own families not conform to society’s idea of what is morally right or wrong.
-Don’t fall in love with “things”—-instead be content with what you have!
This is a call to stop whining and complaining. It happened then—we did not invent (but children of 2017 are perfecting).
Here’s the counsel he closes with in regard to how we should handle the matters of our churches, camps or Christian communities:
-Respect those that lead and serve. Leading is harder than following because the spot light is always upon leaders—-and should be. But if they get it right, give them some respect—they deserve it.
-Don’t believe everything you hear—-check it out to be sure it is right! Just because a camp director, deacon, president or pastor says it true does not make it so.
-Pray for those who pastor you, those who teach you, those who serve you and those who are dedicated to you.
THIS is the key. PRAYER. REAL HEARTFELT, EARNEST, SINCERE PRAYER—-it moves mountains. Did you pray today for those who lead your church, your city, state and nation?