Friday, March 11, 2016

Getting Connected

When Jesus washed the disciples' feet in John 13, He said, “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you” (John 13:14, 15).

The living parable that Jesus was teaching is that all of us have bathed (salvation), but we get our feet dirty (sin). We need others in our lives to help us with our sin (bad attitudes, weaknesses, blind spots).
When we were children, our parents constantly pointed out our blind spots. It was their job to correct us so that we could grow to become better people. What happens when we become adults? Who is going to point out our blind spots? Who is going to wash our feet? Who will, humbly and gently, help us discover where we need to change in order to lead us to become more mature believers?
This Scripture illustrates the need we have for community. Christianity was designed to be in community, and that is why Jesus said, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18). His church is the vehicle where Christian community comes into our lives. It is where we make connection with others.

Not everyone can confront us with our shortcomings. The criteria for this are two-fold:

1.  The person must know you well. Paul Tripp states that, “We think we know ourselves better   than anyone. We talk to ourselves more than anyone else.” Our reaction to those who try to correct us is often, “They don’t really know me.” In order to be qualified to help someone, we must be close enough to know them.
2.  The person must love us.  They are not trying to change us for their benefit—but for our benefit.

Where do we find these people? We find them in church, but even more so in a Christian Small Group setting. The twelve disciples had their own “Small Group.” Jesus was originally speaking to His “Small Group” about the washing of feet. Once we are part of a Small Group, we look for God to lead us to special friends—friends that we connect with, who love us, and have our best interest at heart. It is in the context of these relationships that we find people we can trust, who will have the courage to confront and help us.

As important as community is, it is often the case that pastors are left out of community in the church. Again, citing Paul Tripp, he tells us that because pastors are often looked on as being held on a pedestal, an example of victory, any evidence of struggle is, at the least, awkward for the congregation. Pastors, therefore, can be isolated from real community. I have been guilty of this for some time. I share this because I’m sure there are some of you who also feel outside a close Christian community. You do not have a Small Group, or if you are part of a group, you may be hesitant to be transparent, even with your closest friends. After all, it’s none of their business.  But, it is their business—Jesus said so.

I have recently taken steps to find close community again by reconnecting with other pastors and attempting to minister alongside them. In time, as I try to serve others, I know God will place loving friends in my life who will connect with me.

What about you? Are you in a church? Have you joined a Small Group? Christianity is a Christian community project. Who is washing your feet?

What are your thoughts on this?

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