There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability;
there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community. - M. Scott Peck

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spoiled by God

Let me start at the end of our meeting. It was late, but the topic of multiplication came up before we started to pray. One of the guys challenged us – he questioned whether we were being as authentic as we could. We were talking a good game, but not really supporting each other enough outside our Wednesday meetings. Were we really such a connected group? Was our conversation about multiplying just an excuse not to go deeper? How can we talk about being ready to open up to new guys if there’s so much more we need to do among ourselves? Maybe we aren’t as far down the road as we think we are.
You could feel the push back from some of us. It’s not a comfortable thought to believe you’re in one place and be called out on not really being as honest as we need to be about where we are as a group. Even the guy who was calling us out was questioning how authentic he was being in the group.
As I listened to the conversation, one of the real tensions in our group became very clear. None of us want to risk losing what we have worked so hard for – a place where we can honestly share who we are and what we are struggling with in our life; a place to give and get support; a place to be called out and challenged to be better. This is a place where we are all growing in our relationship with Jesus and each other. Nobody wants to lose it. We all need it.
But every one of us wants to share the experience. We all know guys who would benefit from being in a circle with other guys working hard to figure life out and live as Jesus wants us to live. The conflict is a sign for me that God is working in each of us. We are being called out by Jesus – What do you believe? What do you need to do to build my kingdom?
Now let me circle back to the beginning of our meeting. One of our guys just came back from his father’s funeral. He told us the story of the great difficulties he faced trying to work out the funeral arrangements for his father in a city where he had few contacts and didn’t know the players. Suffice it to say that, sadly, there were not a lot of God moments in his narrative. But at one point, in the middle of all the hassles, his mother turned to him and told him that “God has spoiled me.” She didn’t say that God loves me or that God cares for me. She said has spoiled me. What an amazing description of God’s love for us. In the midst of what must have been great sorrow – they had been married for almost 50 years – she is able to talk about being spoiled by God’s love. Wow.
It’s amazing to think that God might use a widow in Florida to deliver His message to a bunch of guys in Timonium. What if our group is spoiled by God? What if we shift the lens to see how God has blessed each of us over the last two years in awesome ways as part of our group rather than to focus on what we might lose? I know I am spoiled every Wednesday when I meet with my brothers in group. And I know we will resolve our tension about how to grow our group. But I also know that God wants to use us to spoil as many people as we can with his love.
Happy Easter.

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