Devotion for the Third Sunday in November
“And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Typically, when I think of the word “provoke,” I think of how my boys provoke me by their behavior. Or how I provoke them by correcting them. Or how some people will taunt others. We don’t normally think of “provoking” one another into love and good works. Yet, that is exactly what the writer of Hebrews encourages. Knowing the Greek word does not help much, because it says the same thing. It says that we are to irritate or even exasperate one another into or with love and good works. Or we are to encourage one another into spasms of love and good works. (Think of the image that brings to mind!) But what if we were to act like this? What if we were to provoke people so that they responded with love? What if we irritated them into good works? What if we exasperated them so much that love burst forth from them? What if every twitch or spasm that we had was a twitch or spasm of love? Could that sort of provocation spur us into greater community? Could that provocation bring us more fully into the Reign of God? Could that provocation move us to grow and give. Could that provocation move us into dreaming what God has in store for us as we imagine what God is creating within and around us? Are we willing to find out? Come, let us consider how we might together provoke one another to love and good deeds.
Loving God, provoke me so much with your grace that every twitch and spasm of my being shows forth your love. And as your grace works and shapes me, help me to provoke others with your grace so that all people might know your justice, peace, and love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Pastor David Armstrong-Reiner