Connections 08.28.2022: Advice for the Ages

Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16

The writer of Hebrews knew what tempts, troubles, and tantalizes human beings. And those things haven’t changed much over the centuries since these words were recorded.

In families, in friendships, in workplaces, and in communities of faith, we sometimes grow weary of each other. We lose patience, feel bitterness or resentment or even contempt, and think our way is the only right way. What does the writer of Hebrews say? Let mutual affection continue (v. 1).

Wherever we are, wherever we go, new people often enter our lives. We don’t know them. They don’t know us. There’s a barrier between us. They are strangers, and we aren’t sure we feel comfortable engaging with them. What if they don’t fit in with our group? What if they disrupt our dynamic? Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers (v. 2).

Unless we personally know someone who is incarcerated or enduring oppression, we likely don’t give much thought to the daily lives of prisoners or captives. They are far removed from our routine. If they’re in jail, we think they probably deserve it. If they’re living under an oppressive and harmful regime, what can we do about it anyway? Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them, those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured (v. 3).

For many of us who are married, being a newlywed was exciting, surprising, fun, and fresh. But as the years piled on, we settled into sameness and grew bored and lost interest. We have work to do, supplies to buy, meals to make, rooms to clean, kids to care for. We have little time or energy to invest in a spouse who is just as apathetic about our marriage as we are. Don’t we deserve something more exciting? Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled (v. 4).

With the constant advertisements on social media and television, we are increasingly aware of everything we don’t have. The latest smartphone. The most advanced vehicle. The highest-rated mattress. The most efficient kitchen gadget. The all-inclusive tickets to Disney World. The magical trip overseas. The list goes on. We work hard, so shouldn’t we have the things we want? Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have (v. 5).

Life on earth can be difficult. Even if our needs are covered and we have strong relationships, struggles are bound to arise. It’s tempting to fall into the pattern of me, me, me—what about me? Let us remember that the obsession with personal satisfaction is an age-old problem. We aren’t the first humans to battle it. Let us also remember the advice of the writer of Hebrews, which can help us in this battle. Most of all, let us rest with confidence on this promise: The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me? (v. 6).


• Which piece of the writer’s advice is most difficult for you to follow right now?
• Why do you think these issues are so universal and timeless?
• What is the common theme running through these issues?
• How can the advice from the writer of Hebrews encourage you in your daily life?
• What does it mean for the Lord to be your helper? How can you live with less fear?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, her husband John, and the family’s two dachshund mix pups, Luke and Leia. She likes supporting community theater productions and is often found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. And she writes middle grade and young adult fiction for the pure joy of it.


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