The Scriptures command that ‘we urge others on’
Published 3:33 pm Thursday, September 16, 2021
BY PASTOR BRANDON YOUNG
Hebrews 10:25 proclaims: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Oftentimes, the first part of this verse is quoted, or maybe a sermon is preached about it, but the second half is not mentioned as much. What does it mean to exhort one another? Most would answer that it means to encourage, but honestly, it is a stronger sentiment. It means to strongly urge another.
Christianity.com tells us more about the Greek word for exhort. “Parakaleó combines “pará ‘from close-beside’ and kaléō, ‘to call’. In other words, to “make a call” which is ‘close-up and personal.’ In the verse mentioned above, the writer states that we are to exhort one another more often as we see the day approaching. Jesus is soon coming, and it is obvious that we live in unprecedented times. We must urge each other on. We cannot quit or give up! Although giving up is easy, we must keep pressing onward. In order to keep pushing on, we need others alongside us urging us to the finish line.
I can remember running cross-country in high school. In some of those races, we were in an area with no spectators or coaches. Unlike all other sports, no one was there to cheer you on. It was quiet, and all you could hear was the sound of your own feet, and the feet of those in front of or behind you. The loudest noise came from my own mind telling me to stop; that finishing would be impossible. It was during these long and quiet stretches many chose to stop running. Many gave up! They would lay beside the trail, or some of them would slowly begin to walk. Without the crowd and coaches urging the runner on, it seemed impossible to finish the race. In all sporting events, the crowd and the coaching staff make all the difference to the athletes. I have watched the crowd change the entire dynamics of a game. Those cheers and pep talks urge the athletes to stay the course and to give it their all.
In some ways, life is like a cross country race. It is a trail that climbs up mountains and through dark and lonely valleys. Often, we must traverse a raging river. Just when we think the finish line is attainable, it begins to storm. The wind begins to pick up, and the trees begin to snap. The rains of heartache and frustration rain down, and the flood of anxiety and worry builds up. It is in these moments that we need to exhort one another. We need individuals in our lives that will stand on the sideline urging us to finish. These folks give us the courage and strength to keep on going even when we do not feel like we can.
Everyone is going through something right now, and everywhere you look there are sorrows, frustration, anxiety, suffering, and even death. I do not think in my 41 years of living that I have seen our community more discouraged. We must start to urge others to keep going. We must choose to reach out a helping hand. We must pray like we have never prayed. We must let go of our grudges and forgive. Many are on the verge of giving up on life, their marriage, their job, their relationships, and on themselves. I believe we can all make a difference if we choose to move with compassion. Let me close with what the Apostle Paul said to a young Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” Throughout Paul’s life and during his missionary journeys, he had others urging him on with words of comfort and compassionate actions. Let’s exhort one another more than we ever have! Our world is depending on it.
(Brandon Young is pastor of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton)