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Community: Built on our belief in the teachings of Jesus

March 28, 2007

Last night I read a blog where someone referred to something I did as an act of community. They thought my actions were inspired by others in the community, and were impressed with the leadership because of my actions. My involvement and actions had nothing to do with the leadership that had been shown other than the fact they made me aware there was a need.

It left me thinking about how people think of community differently. It is a common value that is referring to in Christianity, but do we agree on what I means and looks like? Recently I was given an image of how people often demonstrate community within the church. Imagine watching someone swimming in a pool. From the side others watch, cheer, and applaud the actions of the person that is swimming, but they don’t get in and get wet. Often, even if the swimmer is in trouble only one or two people are willing to jump in and get wet. How often is this how we demonstrate community to others? Do we just stand to the side, tell them we support them or encourage them, offer to pray for them, tell them our thoughts or heart are with them, and yet we don’t email/call/talk with them or really become involved in their lives? Are we unwilling to get in and get wet? Are we only willing to do that for those we consider close, but others in the body/family are not valued enough to for us to make that commitment and sacrifice? Why are we so hesitant to give of ourselves instead of holding others at arms length and not become involved?

“Mahatma Gandhi, who was born in India in 1869 and raised Hindu, looked closely at Christianity as it was practiced around him in Great Britain. He remarked that if only Christians would live according to their belief in the teachings of Jesus, “we all would become Christians”. We know what he meant, and he was right in that. But the dismaying truth is that the Christians were living according to their “belief” in the teachings of Jesus. They didn’t believe them! They didn’t put their full trust in Jesus, and so they didn’t have the intention of actually following his teachings.” (Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard and Randy Frazee)

“Don’t just observe people – get involved in their lives so that you can see the truths of God actually modeled. That is far more powerful than simply knowing a fact or truth about God.” (Free: Connecting with Jesus, the Source of True Freedom by Neil T. Anderson and Dave Park)

Are you living according to your “belief” in the teachings of Jesus? How deep does your “belief” go? Do you believe in Jesus and his teachings enough to put your comfort, time, possessions, relationships, pride, and reputation on the line? How would Jesus of spent today? He likely would have spent it with sinners, thieves, prostitutes, tax collectors, the sick, the needy, and the unclean. Are you willing to invest, embrace, sacrifice, and “get wet”? Someone around you has a need….what if you are the one person God has called to meet it and your answer so far has been no?

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