Time to Gather
By Cheryl McCloud
I recently had an opportunity to attend a conference with several other special ladies. The time together provided me a perfect opportunity to reflect on several verses that call for believers to gather together.
There are so many verses and examples in the Bible that exhort us to come together. The disciples sat at Jesus' feet. They asked questions, they argued, they ate, they fished, they slept, they served, and they walked.
But ... I argue with myself, Jesus often went off by himself, spending time alone in prayer. The problem is, I want to focus only on those times and struggle to emulate when He rejoined his disciples and the people He came to save.
I have no problem with the "alone" times. I'm naturally a person who enjoys -- OK, maybe hides would be a better word -- being in the background. I treasure the times I spend alone with God. My challenge is to push myself to join others.
Why does God ask us so many times to do so?
Hebrews 10:24-25 puts it clearly: “ ... and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another ..."
We all need encouragement. We don't always stay on the mountaintop when everything is going well and there aren't problems. And what's more, we don't always see situations or problems clearly when we're by ourselves. And what's even more frightening: We don't even recognize that fact when we're in the middle of it.
And let’s be honest, sometimes we all need others to push us to help others. Seeing or hearing how someone else helped another, encourages us to do the same.
God recognized that Satan can mislead us and he told us to get together for encouragement.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 reminds us that: "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!"
And Galatians 6:2 asks us to "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."
The time I spent with several friends is something I'll always treasure. As stories and struggles were shared, a bond was strengthened. We may not be able to “fix” every situation butjust providing a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen is what someone needs.
So remember to gather together to both be encouraged and to encourage another!