Thursday, September 2, 2010

from the Links Fellowship & Randy Wolf

Increasingly in our time, people assume that all that is needed for spiritual growth is Bible study, or church attendance, or a prayerful walk with God under the shadows or along the banks of His creation. But some issues in life will never be changed by Bible study, church attendance, or even prayer alone. God uses people. He wants us to grow together.
This is best described by Henri Nouwen in his book, Ministry of Presence:

More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their door steps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence.

Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress.

But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn't be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but you truly love them.

You cannot grow to Christlikeness in isolation. We must be around others and interact. We all need to be a part of a Christ-honoring, people-loving community--not only for what we can get but what we can give.

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