Thursday, March 9, 2023

Are You Teaching and Encouraging Others?

When you run a marathon, everyone who signed up for the race participates. No one just stands there and spectates.

At the start of the 2019 Chicago Marathon. 

Likewise, church was never meant to be the spiritual equivalent of a spectator sport, where we watch what's going on, sample a bit of this and that, and award performance ratings to a good show -- a sort of spiritual Olympics, where the elite athletes do their thing on the screen and the rest of the world watches on in amazement. If you don't believe me, read the strong exhortation in Heb. 10:24-25. There is something unique, irreplaceable even, about Christians getting together, teaching and encouraging and admonishing one another. Every member participating is of the utmost importance in God's eternal program for the church. Church is always a community process -- a point Paul clearly asserts in 1 Cor. 14:26. If that is true, then every time I go to church I should go to participate, not spectate. Being a Christian is by definition being like Jesus, who came not to be served but to serve. When we gather, we are to "teach and admonish one another with all wisdom," writes Paul in Col. 3:16. This isn't a call primarily to pastors. The ultimate work of the church has to be done by plain, ordinary Christians like you and me. That is what "every member ministry" looks like. That's why the corporate gathering matters.

Three thoughts as I close:

1. Be Scripture-saturated. Make it a habit to allow the Bible to percolate through your mind every day.

2. Be vocal. Let teaching and encouragement echo from your lips throughout the day as you go about your business.

3. Be intentional. Never underestimate the power of those ordinary, brief conversations you have with your fellow believers, be it on Sunday or another day of the week. Every Christian conversation can convey something of Jesus.