Serving is a skill that we have to acquire. It is not something that just happens, and it is certainly not ours by nature. For example, a server in a restaurant is a person who, in a sense, is called to serve. But a server needs to be trained. I have a friend who used to be a server, and he once explained to me all that is involved in being a good server. Once I understood the training process, I realized that it does not just happen; serving is a skill we have to acquire. We have to study others to find out what produces a positive response, not a negative one. We are to study others to provoke them to love and good deeds, not to the opposite. Serving requires practice, training, and discipline.
Serving also requires the right environment. After saying, “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24 nasb), the writer of Hebrews went on to say, “Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near” (verse 25 nasb). We must learn to serve in the right environment, which is expressed in the words “our own assembling together.” It means close, committed, regular fellowship.
In the next verse, the writer presented the disastrous alternative. Immediately after he warned us not to forsake our own assembling together, he said, “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment” (verses 26–27 nasb). The implication is that if we do not stay in the right environment—if we are not in close, committed, regular fellowship—we will go back to sinning. The only safe way is to stay in fellowship, consider other people, and learn to serve them joyfully.