The spring concert was on the doorstep, a meager two weeks away, and we were NOT ready, NO way, NO how. Our hand bell ensemble had been working endlessly on an extremely difficult selection, and as the case often is with this age group, they were frustrated, distracted, done! I knew that they needed an enticement, a bribe, something to kick-start their effort and to roll us across the finish line. Here’s the deal, kiddos, you guys accomplish this song in our fifty-minute class session, and next week I bring homemade cookies, my special super-duper-loaded-with-chocolate-and-butter cookies! And donuts! The gauntlet of challenge had been thrust upon them, and they ran with it.
Needless to say, I had to spend an entire evening baking, not to mention the predawn adventure of standing in line at the donut shop to fulfill my promise. Perhaps this bribe was not the high point of my teaching career, but desperate times breed desperate measures. My students performed their song to perfection, just as I knew they could, they just required a bit of a nudge.
In chapter ten of Hebrews, the writer is reminding us of the perfect sacrifice for sin, Jesus Christ. The Old Testament offerings could “never take away sins,” whereas “by one offering he (Christ) hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” Because of this once-for-all atonement, we shoulder the responsibility of loving and “exhorting” one another, gathering together consistently, holding fast the faith. We are told that as we meet on a regular basis, we are “to provoke unto love and good works.” Provoke?
The word translated provoke in our passage does not infer our modern definition of irritating or angering someone, pushing them to the edge, but instead the word encompasses the idea of enticing someone, attracting by offering pleasure or advantage, similar to my bell bribe. Part of my commission from my Father is to encourage my brothers and sisters into service for Christ, to help them grow in grace, to keep them focused amidst a world of distractions, to keep them running the race in spite of an evil world and a crafty enemy, and to aid them in reaching their full potential in the body of Christ. I am to provoke them.
Have you encouraged someone today, enticing them to step out in faith, to accomplish great work for the Father, and to grow in grace? Let’s “provoke” our fellow believers to greater faith in the perfect Lamb. God may place someone in your path today who may be in need of a bit of a nudge to stay in the race and to keep on running, so get out there and provoke!
Hebrew 10:24 And let us consider one another, to provoke unto love and good works;
Lord, someone needs my encouragement today. Please put them in my path, on my heart and mind today. Help me to be the provocation they need to keep running the race, to continue growing in faith, and to reach their potential in Christ.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-647-6571c84e3310d' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=647&origin=wp.blog.blog.grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-647-6571c84e3310d' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-647-6571c84e3310d' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>