“Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, …” (Hebrews 10:24-25, NRSV)
The writer of Hebrews encourages the followers of Christ to provoke one another to love and good deeds. I somehow understood the word ‘provoke’ as something negative as a way of defense or “an attempted excuse for violence”, saying, “He provoked me!”
But the early Christians knew to be faithful what we need is to be in community where good people of faith provoke one another to love, encourage with their words, thoughts, and actions. Otherwise our world can be quickly filled with provoking the worst out of us.
The word of Pope Francis delivered at one of the TED talks has reminded me of my call to be a Christian leader: “To Christians, the future does have a name, and its name is Hope.” I have realized more and more that giving hope, showing hope, holding fast to hope so that becoming hope in life together should be my main theme for life.
This month we begin a stewardship focus on Experiencing Joy in Generosity. We will offer a daily devotional for three weeks, starting October 30 through November 17. I believe most of you have experienced the real joy in life can be found in generosity, and generosity begins when we become aware that all that we have are not our own earnings but are given as gifts from God.
Have you ever wondered why you are left with such a joyful feeling when you are able to give a gift to your church or to help a person in need? The answer to that question may be rooted in us as Christians who are being created in the image of God. To be made in God’s image means we are made to be like our Creator whose nature is to give.
Giving helps us feel fulfilled as we reflect God’s nature. Although the image of God was broken and wounded by sin, as those converted by faith in Jesus, we “have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Colossians 3:10). Our Creator empowers us to restore whom we are created to be. And with this attitude of joyful giving, others find hope through us as we become witnesses and instruments of God’s faithful love.
Like David, we exclaim, “But who [are we]…that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you” (1 Chronicles 29:14).
Come and join us in worship. I hope our message and sharing faith from your friends in faith will be a blessing to you and your family!
Excited in God’s grace,