I chose the word "fellowship" to focus on during 2012.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer from his book Life Together wrote:
"The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists of listening to them. Just as love of God begins with listening to his word, so the beginning of love for our brothers and sisters is learning to listen to them."
Listening to others. A good beginning.
This past week, Ann Voskamp had a great post at (in)courage called, "Why You Need to Find Community (even when you're really hurting)." I began reading the comments from some women who have been hurt by community and some women who are alone and desire to be a part of community.
God made us a relational people. He wants us to be in relationship with Him and with others, and one thing that captured my attention is that some women who lack community are looking for someone to focus on them and their problems.
I believe that the way to find community is to turn my focus and care toward others. To step outside of myself and my problems and readjust my vision to others, listen to them, and hear where they are in their lives. Then a relationship can begin and maybe flourish.
Not every relationship or fellowship opportunity leads to community, yet it can move me forward in my journey of being a servant of Christ. A more pro-active servant. I believe that God places every person in my life for His purpose and my benefit. I learn something from each person...mostly good things but occasionally I leave a relationship and chalk it up to "a life lesson."
When days of sadness or loneliness come (and they will) I know it's time to shift my focus from myself....toward others. My burden ends and I become spiritually lighter when I invest in relationship and fellowship with others and with God.
"Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man."
This year I am challenging myself to bring love and faithfulness into my relationships, into my fellowship opportunities, into my community(ies).
What do you think?
Do you long for community?
Will you share what fellowship and community look like to you?
I'd really like to listen...