Saturday, September 19, 2009

MUTUAL... I'M SURE!


"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken." (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NLT)

This past week, I had the great honor of meeting with other leaders in disability ministry form around the country. We empathized with one another's challenges and exchanged a variety of ideas. The common ground we all shared with was edifying. And while we all agreed that we were breaking ground in a relatively new area of ministry, those who were more experienced willingly shared their wisdom with those who were newer. Some leaders even had the foresight to bring co-laborers or apprentices with them, investing this experience in the perpetuating of the next generation of leaders.

While this was a terrific experience professionally, I recognized that it can be duplicated by each of us personally. In a culture where everyone seems too busy to slow down and offer a second glance to anyone, what an awesome gift we offer others when we share such an exchange with them. Time is the most valuable treasure we can offer another person, (mentoring, encouraging or educating ) because it is the one thing we can't get back or get more of. At the same time, the rewards and gratification of pouring our time into people are immense.

I also spent time this week with 2 mothers over breakfast. One had a school-aged daughter with a special health care issue. The other was adopting a child with that same issue. What a privilege to watch God recycle all of the difficulty of the first mother, to bless the second mother. A new relationship was formed. And though the adoptive mother still faces many unknowns, she left that day realizing that she would not be parenting that child alone. Others would bear the burden with her and lift her up.

The blessings of community can be great, but they have an eternal impact when God, the third strand, is part of the equation. Praying together, pointing one another to God's Word and sharing godly advice each help us to rise above the weight and craziness of this world. The input and friendship I get from one I'm tied together with in Christ is far different than that which I get from one rooted in the prevailing, current culture. Today's culture may tell me to leave my husband, but when God's in the trio, a friend in Christ might help me to work it out. Today's culture might encourage me to soothe my conscience by making a token gesture towards the needy, but when God's in the trio, my friend will roll up their sleeves with me, get dirty and live out love that makes a difference.

I recently read this quote by Peter Druker in some leadership information, "There is no success without a successor". What a yardstick this is to measure our interaction with! We please God and grow in intimacy with Him when we invest our time and wisdom in edifying others around us. We walk away feeling content, lighter, hopeful. And those feelings are mutual... I'm sure!

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