- A penny saved is a government oversight.
- Did you ever notice: When you put the 2 words “The” and “IRS” together it spells “THEIRS”?
- Taxgiving Day = April 15th
- I’m a little worried about this year’s income tax. I think I made it out wrong. I’ve got thirty-five cents left.
- I don’t know if we’ll ever get a cure for poverty, but the way taxes and prices are going up, we’ve got a sure cure for wealth!
Most here in America hear the date April 15 and immediately run to the bathroom cabinet for antacids. It’s our annual meeting with the IRS agency. There are some wonderful people who work for the IRS, so my jokes are tongue in cheek, but it’s simply because we just don’t like giving up perfectly good money. However, the yearly meeting is required of us. The IRS would say, as the author of Hebrews wrote, do not forsake our meeting together.
Haha, I’m pretty sure the author of Hebrews, most likely Paul, wrote chapter 10 verse 25 in a much different light. This verse, however, does create interesting discussions and arguments all through the Christian community.
Paul’s is writing what is, to me, one of the coolest pep talks in the whole Bible. Paul has been writing about how Jesus has become our high priest and how we now have a direct connection with God. He wants us to see that we have absolutely no reason to lose hope because of Christ. Here are some phrases Paul uses in this chapter:
- …since we have confidence
- …since we have a great high priest
- …let us draw near to God
- …full assurance
- …let us hold unswervingly
- …let us consider how we can spur one another on
- …let us not give up meeting together
- …let us encourage each other
After this chapter Paul writes of what some call the Hall of Faith. Wow! These people he writes about were the ones whose life stories have been talked about around camp fires and kitchen tables and the communion table for generations. These were people who are remembered for their commitment to God’s plan. They were the ones who didn’t forget God or God’s family.
I’ve been watching a very cool TV series from the BBC titled Merlin. The show is a rendering of what it was like as King Arthur and Merlin grew up as young men….as a prince and as a servant. It’s cool to watch as Prince Arthur and the other knights of Camelot flesh out their devotion to the king and the people they are committed to protecting. They constantly train for battle yet are humble and devoted to justice and compassion. They are known for their complete devotion to each other. They are truly a band of brothers. They are known throughout lands close and far as servants who would willingly lay down their interests, their own needs, and dreams for the sake of the King and those who live in his kingdom. Now, yes, it’s a story. It’s a TV show. But it’s a great “picture” of what Paul is talking about. And we have THE King as our leader.
I wonder what people who listened to Paul speak these words thought. I wonder what they thought when he said, “Let’s not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing…” Do you think that some of them yelled back at Paul with something like …I don’t have to go to church services to be a Christian!…? Haha. I’m sure someone at least thought it. But remember, like the Knights of Camelot, when we signed up with Jesus, we signed up for Him…not for ourselves.
If someone buys a ticket for the ballgame, they don’t sit at home and watch the game on TV. Meeting together makes sense. If someone just wants a ‘free pass’ to Heaven, then getting together with like minded people doesn’t matter at all. If someone wants to grow in their faith and take as many people to Heaven with them as possible… If someone wants to truly give up their life for the sake of friends and family… If someone truly considers that this world is not their home… If someone truly is storing up treasure in Heaven rather than here on earth… kicker time… If someone truly love the church as Jesus does, then they will meet with their sisters and brothers on a regular basis for the sake of God’s glory. Remember, it’s not about us anymore. When we took the free gift of the Holy Spirit we signed up for God’s plan and left ours behind.
When we look at great teams and great organizations and great businesses and companies, we see groups and families of people who like being together despite their personal problems or differences. They long for togetherness. They know that it helps them grow and allows them to “spur” their mates on. If you think about it, our meeting together is a small and imperfect picture of what Heaven will be like forever. Please know that I’m guessing some of you might not like what is being said here about getting together regularly with your church family. But remember, what Paul is talking about is not church attendance. This is not about marking your check boxes 4 times per month and going to the occasional extra weekly Bible study. This is so much more than responding “present” when your name’s called. This is about family and commitment.
So what will you do this week to reconnect with a church family or Christian group that will help you keep going…who will pick you up when you fall…who will not judge you but call you out so you can get better? Will you do what Paul might consider “best practices” to become ALL that God created you to be? Will you recommit to being one like a Knight of Camelot who is known for doing the hard and selfless things for the sake of the Kingdom…for the sake of your friends and family?
Love-Serve-Spread the Word,
PS - A side note. Did you read the verses that come before vs. 25? They talk about team work. Paul used words such as ‘we’ and ‘us.’ Meeting together is about ‘our’ needs…plural. It’s not about having what we want in the form of music and Bible study and pews and lighting and sound systems. It’s all about God. And remember, a stern warning in the form of risk assessment follows for those who don’t want to meet together or help each other (26-39).