Do you want to know what I really hate? I really hate coming to the realization that I do not know what to do. I can not stand that feeling of helplessness that comes over me when I am out of my depths.
I had that feeling this past weekend. I was driving home from a youth retreat and pulled off the highway to get a tank of gas. After filling the tank the car would not start. I had someone with me and I just wanted to be able to get this guy home. We were stuck. I could not fix it because I know nothing about cars. Then I had to enter into the process of asking people for help. It’s embarrassing because most of the times the issue that is causing my car problems is some “easy” fix. That feeling is horrible.
I had a conversation that Sunday with a man I deeply respect named Jim, he was taking me to buy a battery and to help me install it. He said, “Dan, you spend your whole life serving others, why do you have such a hard time letting other people serve you?” That has been the question that has stuck in my mind since. Why?
I don’t like letting people serve me because I believe I live an amazing life. I believe that God has so graciously given me all I need to provide for my family. I see the body of Christ constantly meeting any need my family has and it is an honor to serve them. It seems that it is not fair to keep asking.
Yet, this is what being in a community is all about. It is about people with differing gifts and skills serving one another. Helping one another. Caring for one another. Consider what Paul says in 1 Corinthians:
14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many.15 If the foot should say, Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body, that would not make it any less a part of the body.16 And if the ear should say, Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body, that would not make it any less a part of the body.17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.19 If all were a single member, where would the body be?20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
God has, in his goodness and grace, given me gifts of leadership and teaching. I am not a mechanic. I can barely change a light bulb. According to Paul this is God’s intention for us. I think this is so that we will never be able to “know ourselves by ourselves” as Wendell Berry says. We are designed to be in a community and we can only be who we are in a community. It must be time to embrace this reality.
What holds you back from entering into community?