To-Don’t List

Hebrews 10: 25not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

I saw a brief clip interviewing elderly ladies; each asked what they would do-over if they had the chance.  I have learned over the years to perk up when such questions are asked of the elderly, because they often have so much experience and wisdom.  Not disappointing, one woman said that she always had a “To-Do” list, but she feels she would have benefited more from a “To-Don’t” list.  Being a “To-Do List” kind of guy, I spent time considering this statement and had to agree that it is a wise and Biblical concept.

God clearly thought a “To-Don’t” list was critical for his people.  The 10 Commandments really are that list.  The book of Leviticus is further filled with cautionary “To-Don’ts”.  Is it that God is a negative God, who takes great pleasure in restricting his children?  No, like a loving parent, God can see things his children can’t and therefore he gives us guidelines which can help us avoid significant pain and suffering.

The New Testament is further filled with numerous cautionary “To Don’ts”.  The one I want to discuss is found in the letter to the Hebrew believers.  The Common English Bible (CEB) translation says: “Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25

This instruction can be a real challenge, especially for athletes.  I have friends with adult children who are playing a higher level of hockey away from home which often prohibits them from regularly attending a church.  My son is also considering a college sports scholarship and likewise he would be away from home and often have a sports schedule that conflicts with regular church schedules.  For these young Christian men this is an extremely vulnerable period in their lives with numerous temptations and challenges on their faith.  Fortunately, however, there are resources available for them if they choose to pursue them.  Organizations like Hockey Ministries International (HMI) and Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) are two such organizations which are there to support such young athletes.

Why is it so vital to regularly meet together with other Christians to worship and study God’s Word?  Why can’t we just have our own devotional?  There is much in the Bible that I don’t fully understand, but I recognize to be true.  The need for fellowship with other Christians is one such truth.  I have known many people who have chosen not to heed this warning and their spiritual lives have suffered.  At the very beginning God said: “Let US make man in our image” and likewise we are created with that same need to work as a team.  Take on this admonition seriously and “don’t stop meeting together with believers”.  Search out other believers and meet regularly, no matter your family or personal situation.

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