Thursday, 20 November 2008

A Caring Community...

Rejoice with those who rejoice, wrote the Apostle Paul, and weep with those who weep. There is a sense of community that the New Testament describes of the church that is probably found nowhere else other than in a family. In a healthy church, just like in a healthy family, we share each other's joys and each other's pain. We "carry each other's burdens" as Paul said in Galatians 6.

How would you like to be cared for? Some of us, like me, are beset with fierce independence. We struggle to let others in too close. We struggle to truly open up and let others see just where we are struggling. While independence is a necessary virtue for responsibility-bearers it can be an unfortunate handicap as well in this instance of allowing others to care for us. Then there are those who are responsibility-shunners and feel so dependent upon others that they are easily disappointed with others- despite how much care they are shown. How would you like to be cared for?

Of all the words that can compliment a church- strong, influential, genuine, Biblical, Spirit-led, there is in my opinion none nicer to hear than: caring. While we want to be worthy of all those compliments, I especially want our church to be caring.
1Cor. 12:25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

The opportunities to "care for one another" (1Cor. 12:25) in our church family are growing. One of the most practical ways for this to take place is in our Bible Study Groups. Our Bible study Groups are led by very caring leaders and I often hear stories of how group members have met together for a meal or social gathering and shown care for each other. In some instances, Bible Study Group members have taken meals around to one another when they sensed that this would be appropriate. In other instances within our church I have heard of some men getting together to do some handyman maintenance on a single mother's house. In yet another instance some time ago, a Bible Study Group organised to purchase a car for a struggling single mum. And just recently, one group helped with the costs of getting someone in our church family to an interstate funeral of a family member. This is caring.

Luke 6:38 talks about giving and not being being worse off for doing so. It seems that the more we care, the more we are cared for. The Bible is not just about information that makes us wonder in aweful amazement, it is also a handbook for how we should and can care for each other given to us by the most caring Person in the universe. Even when we think that no-one else cares, God always does.

Amen.

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