Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Praise ye the Triune God"1 (Lyrics)
Hebrews 10:24-25 – 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. (NIV)
1 Corinthians 12:7 – Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (NIV)
First came two pieces of freshly baked bread. One slice was spread with a bit of butter, the other with a hint of mayonnaise. Next, thinly sliced turkey was layered, then tomato. Cucumber adorned the tomato. Extra-old white cheese topped the cucumber and finally romaine lettuce for the crown. As I placed the second slice of bread on top of my delicious sandwich, I was reminded of the body of Christ.
Every single piece which was used to make up my sandwich is delicious and good by itself. But when I put them all together into one marvellous, munchable lunch, their flavours blended beautifully, complementing and bringing the best out of each one.
Likewise, God has blessed each one of His children with at least one spiritual gift. Each one of the gifts is good in itself, as well as valuable to His kingdom. Each one is given to be an encouragement not only to the bearer of the gift but also to others within the Body, or church of Christ. It is only as our gifts work and flow together that the common good of all is achieved.
When the COVID-19 virus raised its ugly head and travelled worldwide, striking down so many and leaving many with ongoing, lingering disabilities, many things were shut down for the safety of all. This included, out of necessity, the churches. The Body had to stay home and watch services on television or over the Internet. Some did and some chose not to. Over the past three years, many became accustomed to not fellowshipping with others and even found that they really didn't miss it that much. Others became disillusioned with the Body, as their pastors or study groups did not stay in touch, and they felt abandoned and alone. Thus, when the churches were allowed to reopen, many chose not to return to fellowship, for one reason or another.
But God calls us not to neglect, not to give up meeting together for the encouragement of one another, that we might spur one another on to love and good deeds and use our gifts for the common good. For as we do so, the Body shines so much more brightly and strongly than when each of us remains in our own small corner, even though we may still be diligently working for God.
So, this week, as the day of worship approaches, if you have been one who has chosen not to go back to our reopened churches, reconsider and take to heart and put into action the words in today's passages from Hebrews and 1 Corinthians.
Prayer: Lord God, You gave us each spiritual gifts and called us together as the body of Christ. May we thus remember not to give up meeting together, and all the more as we see the Day of the Lord approaching. In Christ's name, we ask. Amen.