And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. -- Hebrews 10:24-25
In 2008, I had a fever. I thought it was like any other fever until a week went by and not only had it not improved, it got much worse. My wife took me to the emergency room, and soon I was on a CareFlite helicopter heading to a cardiac care unit. Doctors quickly discovered I had a virus that had worked its way through my body and attacked my heart. The only way I would survive was with a heart transplant.
As I labored for every breath in the intensive care unit (ICU) of Medical City Hospital, two miracles happened. The first miracle was that God healed me right there in the ICU. The second miracle took place down the hall.
My wife, Jill, was sitting in the waiting room in a state of shock at just how suddenly my health had declined. Here she was a mom who, in a matter of moments, stood a good chance of having to raise our four young kids on her own. But in that moment of fear, everything changed. One by one, all of our Gateway Worship friends and others from Gateway came and joined her in the waiting room. They stayed with her, prayed for her, loved her, and ministered to her—they were family to her. And it didn’t end there. They were her support system in the difficult months that followed as I recovered, and they got her through one of the toughest times of her life.
What happened with my wife is what the writer of Hebrews is talking about when he says, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.” (Hebrews 10:24-25). However, the key part of the verse comes next: “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.” If we weren’t involved in our church and plugged into a group (in our case, Gateway Worship), how would they have known what was happening to us? Where would our support come from?
It’s not about just showing up, sitting in a pew (or a comfy theater-style seat), getting your weekly dose of God, and then leaving. It’s about relationships and community. You see, it’s the desire of all people to belong to family. No one wants to be alone. It’s amazing what we’ll do to be a part of a family. We’ll adopt their culture and change our behavior because we love them so much and want to be with them.
Part of our culture at Gateway is to come together as family. It’s part of who we are, and it makes us better. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” If you’re struggling to find your place in the family, I want to encourage you to reach out to someone today. It could be as simple as sending a text message to someone, making plans to attend an Equip class, or joining a Gateway Group. There are wonderful people all around you ready to welcome you into the family.
Heavenly Father, show me how to live in connected relationship with others in the church. Let me extend grace and love to my church family, just as You extended grace and love to me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
For Further Study
- Matthew 18:20; Acts 2:44-47; 2 Corinthians 13:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 1 John 1:3
-- Robb Brewer
Taken from Created to Be, a Gateway devotion.