Because I am very practical and frugal (some call it being cheap), my lawn mower has a handle and a rope that I yank on to get it started. Sometimes, I have to pull several times to get the balky engine running. No insult intended, but I think people are a bit like my mower. We sometimes need some help getting started, getting fired up.
Long, long ago, I ran track in high school. I did particularly well during my junior year. We had a coach just out of college who was a skilled motivator and who pushed us to train hard. I recorded my fastest times ever that year.
The following year, my senior one when I should have been stronger and faster, I actually ran slower. Why the difference? Our track coach left and his replacement wasn’t interested in track except as conditioning for his football players, so we distance guys were left to train ourselves.
We had good intentions. We wanted to win, and we tried to follow the same training schedule that we had the year before. It just didn’t work as well without someone urging us on and holding us accountable. It was too easy to ease up and to occasionally skip a drill or two.
He who made us, knows us. He knows that we need some outside motivation and accountability. That’s why he tells us to go to church. “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,” he says (Hebrews 10:25). We need to meet together – to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (verse 24).
Lawnmowers need a person to get them running. Runners need a coach to motivate them. Christians need church for the same reasons.
Those early Christians to whom Hebrews was first written were tired. They wanted to “stop short” (4:1) and give up. Spiritually, they had “feeble arms and weak knees” (12:12). Maybe that sounds like someone you know.
Dropping out was not the solution. Renewing their efforts to plug into the group which shared their faith and could boost it was the solution. Going to church wasn’t to be a drag; it was to be a lift - to fire them up and keep them moving in the right direction.
How about you? Need a little help getting started and running the race? See you in church Sunday.