This week a special woman sent me a message: “I have a proposition for you – feel free to turn me down. I was wondering if I could come over and clean your house once or twice a month. (This is not an insult to your house, I just figured you might not want to spend your time cleaning.) I know that having everything be clean and tidy can be a wonderful thing, so I was wondering if I could help you with that. I don’t want to be paid or anything, you just give a lot to people and I would like to give you something back.”
First thought = “WOW! Yaaaaay!”
Second thought = “Ugh, I’d need to clean in order to get ready for her to clean.” (aka Pride?)
Third thought = This is the power of community.
There’s a huge part of me that wants to live in an “intentional community” that is geared towards inter-dependant community. I am fascinated by people who live that way. Sadly, many seem to be governed by a dominant personality and most are cults or cult-esque. But I totally DIG the heart of living in community.
Funny story: I was chatting with a friend about wanting to live in a commune… “but not a weird commune,” I said. “A cool one.” My friend’s response was, “You know how it can be cool and not weird? Stop calling it a commune!” HA! True. hence my use of the term “intentional community.”
We live in an apartment complex. Four apartments on one property. Last Fall we started getting together once or twice a month for “Compound Dinners.” These get-togethers are so much fun with lots of food and great conversations. LOVE it. We’re sharing life. We’re trading favors. We’re looking out for each other. We’re being a community.
But this young woman’s offer to clean my home is a whole other thing. It’s not like a dinner gathering where she would benefit directly. She wants to come and give without receiving. Her family is very dear to me and I feel like they give so much to us. I give nothing back to them. Nothing.
Isn’t that the beauty of the Kingdom of God as a community?! Not a one-on-one relationship with direct give and take. But an indirect cultural organism of sorts where there are all kinds of giving and receiving happening all the time. No record kept and no tally of who-owes-who-for-what. Lives pouring into other lives with a confidence that our gifts to each other are what life is all about.
All the believers were of one heart and mind, and they felt that what they owned was not their own; they shared everything they had. (Acts 4:32)
There is so much power in this Kingdom community. Sharing life. Giving and serving. All our needs met. Being knit together. Experiencing real love.
Here’s the epiphany I had today: Through the Holy Spirit we have the heart of living in community on a level that is beyond the abilities of humans.
Let me explain… Being in a commune we would be able to see each others’ needs. We would probably have a schedule of service where everyone signs up to serve the needs of the community. It would have some processes and organizational systems in place to keep things running. But the Holy Spirit gives us something even greater… His perspective and His power. Instead of being able to see each others’ needs… the Holy Spirit speaks and tells us in miracle ways. Instead of a schedule to serve… we ask each day for God to show us what to put our hands to. Instead of processes and organizational systems… we have a Kingdom in action that goes beyond our efforts, our geography, our lifetimes.
This young woman’s offer has reminded me, yet again, that Christians should have this awesome hallmark: giving and serving with the Holy Spirit’s insight and power. We are part of a Body. We are part of a Kingdom. Our gifts and passions are needed. Giving to each other is our call. Having ears and eyes to see the opportunities the Holy Spirit brings us is our essential modus operandi.
If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving — large or small — it will be used to measure what is given back to you.” (Luke 6:38)
There is so much power in Kingdom community. It’s WAY better than my commune idea. 😉
How about you? What amazing gifts have you received recently? Do you see the Holy Spirit showing you how and when to give and serve? What can you do today to use your gifts to bless and serve?
Want to read through the Bible with me? Today’s readings are Psalm 41; Luke 22:54-71