Did you know that in 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Americans spend on average 41 minutes of their leisure time a day socializing and communicating? The amount of time we spend watching TV is quite a bit higher in comparison, coming in at an average of 2 hours, 47 minutes a day.
I went looking for these numbers after reading Hebrews 10:23-25 (NIV) because it got me thinking:
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
And all the more as we near the time of Christ’s return, the Bible instructs us to spend more and more time encouraging each other, loving one another and spending time together.
But of course there might be someone out there who wants to know why that might be a wise thing to do. Well, what will be happening in the world as we near the return of Christ? Jesus said:
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:9-14 NIV).
Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will run cold. But because of the increase of wickedness, we must be increasing the amount of time we spend encouraging each other and meeting together. We can rise up to unify and fortify the church through increased encouragement and fellowship, and this can help counter the increase of wickedness.
We all know America is a busy, constantly entertained, stressed out, distracted nation. So, are we actually doing the opposite of Hebrews 10:25, spending less and less time together as a church as we approach the Lord’s return? It is my prayer that we trade in some of our TV time to love each other, to be in fellowship together and to find renewed strength–and all the more as we see the Day drawing near.