But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13).

“Those were the good old days! Ah, what wonderful memories of past times! When only Jews and proselytes were Christians (Acts 2:10), there was not all the 'baggage' those gentile Christians who were former idol worshippers brought into the church. There were only us Jewish and proselyte Christians who knew who God was and understood His spiritual priorities! Now those were the days when you understood the need for suffering and solidarity with fellow believers (see Hebrews 10:32-34).

“But times change! Now the Jewish community wants to force us Jewish Christians completely out! Back in the ‘good old days’ it was tough, but we could be both Jews and Christians! No more! Now we must make a choice—we must be one or the other, but not both! There surely is a lot to lose if we are ostracized from the Jewish community!

“We separated ourselves from the Christian community—we did not associate with Christians, go to Christian fellowships, or even worship where Christians were (Hebrews 10:25). Though we were sacrificial Christians, it reached the point it just was not worth it. We were so discouraged we seriously considered quitting the Christian community completely!”

There has never been an age or a culture/society in which it was simple and easy to commit to Jesus Christ! In all ages at all places there were moments of powerful discouragement—even in the early church!

Every Christian has two responsibilities to fill in commitment to Jesus Christ. The first: be a living example of what it means to place faith in Christ. Let your life be a model to those who do not believe, do not just tell them or say “Amen” when others tell them. The second: encourage those who are committed and those who struggle with their commitment. We struggle in an evil world that at times seems to have the advantage. We have enough to contend with without having to contend with each other. All of us need encouragement from each other, not discouragement.

Our Ministry Fair last Sunday was a powerful avenue of encouragement! What an obvious pooling of talent and gifts! It took no imagination to see the multitude blessed by all those efforts! Please use your gifts and talents to benefit others! Not only will those needing help be blessed, but those who are committed will be encouraged. And the cherry on top is this: God will never forget what you do!

For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints (Hebrews 6:10).

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 12 October 2006

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