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Friday
Nov112011

I'll Just Take My Toys and Walk Away

The other day, my two-year old nephew and his older sister were told by their grandmother to be still and not move.  This had gone on for about thirty minutes of telling both of them to set still and not aggravate each other.  Noticing that his sister was the instigator, the grandmother simply said to her, “I hope if God tells you to do something, you will obey Him.”  My nephew simply looked at his grandmother and said, “Well, if God told me to do something, I would just take my toys and walk away.”  How childlike is that response, so innocent and pure - if I don't like it, I will just "take my stuff and walk away."

I could not help but immediately think about how this applies to community life, both individually and as a collective small group.  How do our members respond when we ask them to share their most precious and fragile possessions?  

Money - it can be replaced, it is only paper.  

Time - it can be made up with a bit of caffeine; by making promises to make it up later; to steal time from sleep or family or even from work when we have to.  

However, what is most precious to everyone?  It’s ourselves, letting down the walls and inviting others to see us as we really are: naked, hurt, fearful, and/or unsure.

It's ironic that so much of our life is spent screaming, "look at me." For example, the cars we drive, clothes we wear, gadgets we buy, and even the language we use has more "I" pronouns and less "we" or "you."  Yet, when the spotlight actually gets turned to us and we are asked to share who we really are, or what we really love, hate, hope for and fear, we quickly clam up and try to put on a "normal" face, a poker face that says we have it all together.  

What if God asked me to share, not my toys, but myself?  How would I respond?  (That's a hypothetical question - a safe questions to which I can imagine a nice answer).  So, let's look at real life experiences.  How have I responded in the past when God has asked me to share myself with others -- my hopes and fears, my good times and my dark times, the thoughts that race through my head faster than I can give voice to them?  What have I done when God has asked me to share myself with others?  

That is really what community is all about - sharing ourselves with others as we live life together.  It is not always clean and antiseptic.  And sometimes it even smells more like a bathroom than a sterile operating room or laboratory.  But it is real living.  It is community in the truest sense.  And as a counselor once told me, if you want to really experience the joys together, you have to also go through the dark valleys together.  This means being real and open in all areas and in all times of your life together.  

I started off asking how our small group members would respond to this community question - what if God asked them to share?  Then I realized, "as the leader, so goes the group."  So the spotlight is now on you and me.  How do we respond to God's beckoning call to share and live our lives open and transparent within our community?  Do we really want to lead and model the way of perfect love and trust as small group members?  Or will we just take our toys (our most precious possession) and walk away?

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