And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds.
Oh this verse.
So short, yet so full.
The verse right before it says that we hold fast to hope because he who has promised is faithful (remember that from two weeks ago?)
But then, since we don’t have to worry about ourselves anymore, what are we to do?
Since God is taking care of us, is faithful, will hold us and care for us and love us – what do we do?
Paul says we think about how to provoke each other into love and good deeds.
That word there, provoke – it’s only used one other time in the whole Bible, in Acts, when Paul and Barnabas couldn’t agree on anything, so they provoked each other so much they parted ways.
So what does that mean here?
We are supposed to provoke each other into good?
What an image.
Bug each other to love.
Poke at each other with good deeds.
The Greek word is paroxysmos – literally meaning irritate or incite.
Think about how you can stir up love and good works in each other.
Ponder how you can irritate someone into loving service.
This seems so funny.
Like competition for good people.
Our Cancer Support Group met this week, and one of the things we talked about was what the best things people (close and not so close) did for them when they needed help.
See – sometimes, here in the passive aggressive northland, we say “let me know if you need anything” and then the people we say it to WILL NEVER ASK FOR ANYTHING because that’s how we roll.
But what if we just did stuff?
What if we just provoked each other to love and do good?
Our group – made up of people in the midst of treatment, finished with treatment, or grieving the loss of someone they love – came up with a list.
So I’m sharing it with you today.
To poke at you.
To incite you to do something like it.
To provoke you into doing good for someone else today.
Let’s get to it uplifters – you KNOW someone who needs help.
So do it.
Best things done for me list:
*Called me from the store and asked “what do you need while I’m here.” *Brought meals. *Sent me funny videos or jokes to cheer me up. *Prayed for me, and told me when they did it. *Walked the dog for me. *Moved my garbage can to the curb and back every week. *Cared for my caretakers. *Told me when they thought of my loved one. *Completed grant applications for me (to help with bills). *Sent me gift cards to restaurants. *Cooked for my family on chemo day. *Sent me cards often, not just once. *Just texts to check in or to say they were thinking of me. *Said “How’s today?” instead of “how are you?”. *Organized cleaning/rides/etc. *Mowed the lawn without me asking. *Came and sat by me at church so I didn’t have to sit alone. *Took me out once a week so I got out of the house. *Made sure to check in when things calmed down so I didn’t feel so alone. *Took me out to get a pedicure or coffee. *They just DID things without making a big deal about it.
Notice how all of these are pretty easy?
Some of them cost nothing or very little.
Little things make a BIG difference.
And that’s what we’re all about here.
We are uplifters.
So consider this your provocation.
(poke poke poke)
PS. If you are in need of uplifting, or you need help, please, PLEASE don’t hesitate to ask. I know it’s hard, and I know you think you can do it on your own, and honestly you probably can, but you don’t HAVE to. This community is full of people just waiting to be with you and help you. Start with us. We’ve got you.