Are you a provocative person? I sure hope so. A dictionary I consulted defines “provocative” as “inciting or stimulating”. Of course, it went on to also indicate that “provocative” could mean “irritating or vexing”. What I want to be is inciting and stimulating; not irritating or vexing. I am sure some of my jokes are more likely to represent the second definition! I use the word “provocative” for a reason, however.
Whoever authored the book of Hebrews wrote these words, “Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 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…” (Hebrews 10:23-25a)
If I were tasked with rewriting that passage but retaining the author’s original intent, it might go something like this: “Stand firm in your faith and don’t surrender to the temptation to give up. God’s promises can always be counted on. And let’s keep on dreaming and thinking up ways to incite and stimulate one another in the direction of love, justice and compassion. Make faithful church attendance a priority! Don’t be like those who think other things are more important than your faith. Because the more you participate in the life of the church, the more encouraged we all are to persist as disciples.” God bless you all in your provocative ministries!