The Bible gives us two ways we thrive:
Jewish philosopher Martin Buber recalls: “My grandfather was lame. Once they asked him to tell a story about his teacher, and he related how his master used to hop and dance while he prayed. My grandfather rose as he spoke and was so swept away by his story that he himself began to hop and dance to show how the master had done. From that hour he was cured of his lameness.”
Sharing & involvement does something inside us. It heals us, strengthens us, changes our hearts.
Ephesians 4:16 tells us that the church (you!) will grow mature “as each part does it’s work”. You have unique gifts, talents and strengths – and if we are going to grow stronger, we need to be active.
If you want your church to feel like your true spiritual home, a place to grow and blossom, join a team, clean a floor, put some work in – It will change your heart as you do! Without it you are just a consumer, not a relative.
The other way to thrive is to be connected.
There’s a Spanish story of a father and son who had become estranged. The son ran away, and the father set off to find him. He searched for months to no avail. Finally, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put an advert in a Madrid newspaper. The ad read: “Dear Paco, meet me in front of this newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you. Your Father.” On the Saturday, 800 Pacos showed up, looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers.
We live in a society that, like our 800 Paco’s, is more lonely and disconnected than ever. Have you noticed that in a church service you might be close to people physically, but miles apart emotionally?
Psalm 92:12 says “The righteous will THRIVE like a palm tree, planted in the house of the Lord”. To be planted you need to allow your roots to go down deep into real friendships. Do you have real, close friends in your church family? If not, then now is the time to dig in deeper.
Do this by joining a Connect/Home Group or being in a small team. I love meeting with my Connect Group to eat, laugh, talk, pray together. It’s not enough for me to be in large meetings – I have to let myself be rooted.
Life is better lived in circles than rows. Crowds who meet in auditoriums must become friends around meal tables. It’s how we are designed to be rooted.
I heard someone say “People don’t want to go to a friendly church – they want friends.” In other words, it’s about real friendships, not just bigger smiles from Stewards or organised pastoral care. We need to take time to build some friendships, and we will thrive!
Doing and connecting – both will help you thrive in life.