At our boss’s staff meeting years ago, I suggested we give an employee’s son a job for the summer. Everyone thought it was a good idea – everyone except the manager of the department I proposed the young man work in. That manager made it clear he didn’t like me getting into his business. One of the others around the table spoke up and said he could find something good for the student to do, so we moved on.
After the meeting, the aggravated manager told me he thought I was “always pushing people around, here.” (note where the comma is.) Since, at an electric utility, system reliability (my job then) involves everybody, I replied I thought it was part of my job to “push people, around here.” (note comma location change.) He obviously couldn’t see where my verbal comma was placed, so he thought I agreed that I pushed people around and I thought it was my job to push ‘em around whenever I wanted. So, we parted and went back to our offices.
I thought of that exchange the other day when I read Hebrews 10:24 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:” (KJV.) Other translations use “stir up” or “stimulate” instead of “provoke.” So, I’m thinking that “push” would work just as well. I could go back and tell that manager I was following the Bible when I pushed him to do a good work and hire the employee’s son, couldn’t I?
Of course, I couldn’t. I neglected the key phrase in the verse – “let us consider one another.” Those years ago if I had considered the other manager and asked him what he thought of the idea before I sprang it on him in a meeting with our boss, he probably would have agreed to give it a try or given me a reason why it would be difficult to make it work. Then, if necessary, we could have worked on the difficulties together.
Brother Emerson Proctor once said: “In our Christian walk, if we’re not moving forward, we will begin to move backward. There is no standing still” I find it can be easy at times, after a bit of discouragement, or fatigue, or laziness, etc. to drift backward from acting in love and doing good works.
At those times, we should trust God, pray, and follow the Holy Spirit to turn us around. But, do you know what else helps a lot? A loving push from a Brother or Sister. The push may be just from their example of faithfulness, or a word of encouragement and thanks. But it can also be a stern warning to avoid something or a strong encouragement to do something (yes, those can be loving, too.) (See Col 3:16, 1 Th 5:11, Heb 3:13, and other “one another” verses)
In a church, we need others to push us and we need to push others for the Body of Christ to be what it’s called to be. As we consider one another, the difficult part is figuring out the best way to push them, around here. (Yes, the comma placement is critical.) The “how to” varies from person to person, and from situation to situation, but it always has its foundation in what Jesus told us: “Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (John 13:34)