There is a book in the New Testament called the book of Hebrews. It is one of the last books in the Bible, and it is about Jesus. It was written to help people know and love Jesus more. The writer focuses on people who have become too religious, but instead of making any improvements on their faith, they have complicated the simplicity of knowing God. This letter is singularly written to help us understand that Jesus is the most important person in our lives, and the writer offers advice on how to live out our faith. The last chapter is filled with practical steps for believers—suggestions that will help us be more committed to God. Here are a few of the things in the chapter:
The writer of Hebrews encourages us to practice the gift of praise, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise — the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Heb 13:15-16). When we really love Jesus, we can give him our praise and worship. Remember that Jesus never changes but remains the same (Heb 13:8). When things seem to be changing all about us, remember that Jesus is the same. When life is in an upheaval, Jesus remains the same. People change, even people who were once your friend can become your enemy, but not Jesus.
Hebrews tells us to “Keep on loving each other as brothers” (Heb 13:1). Tell people that you love them. Use it with emphasis on the “I” and “You” so that they feel the impact of your love. Keep on loving them. Love has to be expressed, and love has to be felt and experienced. When you give love, you give a gift that changes people.
We are to give the gift of generosity “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Heb 13:16). We do forget, but Christmas is a reminder to give and to share kindness and generosity, and God is pleased when we do.
Practicing hospitality: “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it” (Heb 13:2). This is about how we treat strangers. Someone who is different, someone who we may never meet again who needs to feel our hospitality. Maybe someone who seemingly doesn’t even really matter that much in the great scheme of things.
Hebrews encourages us to practice compassion, “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” (Heb 13:3). Those in prison and those abused. Can we enter into and share their sufferings and empathize with their plight? Compassion begins when you begin to put yourself in their actual position. What if it had happened to you?
If our faith is to have meaning, it must be practical and it must be lived out on a daily basis. We must share Jesus with the people we live with. When we do, we will experience his presence and so will they.