We’ve learned a few new things since start of COVID-19 … how to Zoom, homeschool, and work from home. My favorite tip for couples working from home together was this one:
“Get yourselves an imaginary coworker to blame things on. In our house, Cheryl keeps leaving her dirty cups all over the place and we really don’t know what to do about her.”
Here’s one phrase no one used six months ago: “social distancing.”
While social distancing helps stop the spread of a virus, it’s also reminded us that we need healthy relationships in order to be spiritually and emotionally healthy.
Which brings us to this question: Why did God design us to need other people?
The author of Hebrews answers that question in chapter 10. Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians who are facing persecution for their faith in Jesus. They were beginning to wonder if following Jesus was worth the cost. For some of them, it had cost them family relationships, friendships, jobs, and some had died.
The writer’s basic argument is that Jesus and the new covenant is superior to the old covenant.
When we face challenging times, what are we most tempted to do? To pull away from the two things we need most: God and other people.
19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not 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. – Hebrews 10:19-25
As we taught our daughters when they were little, words have meaning. Language matters. Did you notice that the writer used the phrase “let us” three times?
- Let us draw near to God
- Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess
- Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds
If an American writer were writing these words today, it’s likely the emphasis would have been individual, personal, singular not plural. Is it only a matter of semantics? I believe it’s more than that.
It’s underscoring why we need other people.
We need godly people in our lives who will help us draw near to God. While we may have those occasional mountain top experiences, the rest of our lives are lived down here – at home, at work, in school.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve experienced God through other people, in a coffee shop conversation or an intensive care room. I remember a fellow in San Diego in 1991 who prayed out loud for the first time in our small group. I can’t remember what he prayed. I’ve never forgotten that moment.
We need people who will help us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess.
In Exodus 17, the Amalekites were attacking Moses and the Israelites. Here’s how the writer describes the battle: 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword (Exodus 17:11-13).
Does life ever wear you down? It wears me down. I believe I’ve used the word “weary” more in the last 3 months than last 3 years!
You need friends who will hold you up, not hold you back. And you have friends who need you to hold them up, too.
We also need people in our lives who will help us spur us on towards love and good deed.
The Apostle Paul had Barnabas whose name meant “son of encouragement.” It’s not surprising that Barnabas becomes Paul’s closest friend. Paul will write about his troubles, hardships, distresses, beatings, imprisonments, sleepless nights, and hunger.
Imagine if Paul’s closest friend had been a son of discouragement!
“Paul, these people don’t appreciate you – I’d just quit.” We might not have two-thirds of the New Testament.
For many years Henrietta Mears served as Director of Christian Education at the Hollywood Presbyterian Church. Her ministry influenced the founders of Campus Crusade (CRU), Young Life, and even the young Billy Graham.
How did someone somewhat obscure influence so many people. She once said, “Whenever I meet a new person, I imagine them wearing a sign across their chest which reads, “My name is __. Please help me feel important.”
What if you decided to treat every person that way?
Here’s the positive side of this period of extended isolation: it has reminded us that we really do need each other. We need to be together in worship and small groups. Why? Because God designed us to need each other.
But here’s what I hope won’t happen.
I hope that social distancing and times of quarantine don’t encourage us to view other people as threats to be avoided.
That would not only be unfortunate, it would be unhealthy.
May God help us each of us to reboot our relationships in a way that honors him and brings out the best in each other.
Experience and Background
- 25+ years of senior leadership experience
- masters in management and leadership
- presenter at the WFX National Conference
- former president, Church Planters of the Rockies
- helped start 2 for-profit tech companies
To get a better feel for my style and personality, you can watch past sermons on our YouTube channel.
Need an engaging speaker for your event or conference? At the moment, I am available on a limited basis to speak for seminars, workshops, or worship services. Click here to learn more.
I’ve written a few books that might help! You’ll find books on preaching, leadership, Ephesians, as well as my first novel. Follow this link to learn more.