A few nights ago I had a bit of a revelation about myself. You know when you’ve known something, but for a while it becomes so real to you from a perspective you haven’t seen before. That’s kind of what I’m talking about.
It was guys night. A number of times each year a group of us guys get together and head to the theatre for the late show. Last night was “Real Steel”. A robot boxing movie that really impressed. It was great entertainment. The guys were going to meet early for wings at a nearby restaurant before taking in the show. Sounds like a good night doesn’t it. It was time to get going and I found myself sitting on the couch in the living room with little to no motivation to go early. I started thinking about maybe just meeting them at 10pm for the movie and skipping wings. My wife almost had to push me out the door. Some of you are thinking, “dude why would you not want to go?” Others are thinking, “man my wife won’t even let me out of the house to go to a guys night!” Am I afraid of these guys? No. Was I opposed to a night of fun and hanging out with the guys? No.
So why would I not want to go? Yes, I was a little tired from the long day. I was comfy on the couch and content. But the real reason that I wasn’t motivated to go was because relationships can be a whole lot of work. The movie is easy. I don’t have to talk to anyone. But wings…that’s a whole other story. People I’ve never met before. Work.
I’m not saying I don’t love and value these guys and that I didn’t have a great time once I was there. It’s just that sometimes the prospect of the whole evening can be a little daunting. And all the introverts said…Amen?
I’m know I’m not the only guy who feels this way at times. Relationships are work and can sometimes be hard work. Anyone who’s been married or even dated knows this is true! Heck, how about anyone who’s ever been born?!
One of the hardest things to deal with in the church is relationships. People come, people go. The make-up of any given congregation can change drastically in a year. Then you’ve got the challenge of learning new names, new faces, new children along with their history and personal journey with God (not to mention helping them with their own problems). It can be quite a bit of work. I’m not saying it isn’t rewarding, but it can be taxing on a person.
The other side of the coin is that God’s kingdom was never meant to be experienced on an island. It has always been rooted in relationship. The gospel has always been about sharing and experiencing the good news with others.
My favorite tv shows are crime shows like CSI and NCIS Las Vegas. There can be some pretty grim stories, but what brings life and warmth to the show is that the investigative team is presented as a “family”. They don’t just work together. They are intimately involved in each other’s lives and really care about each other. That doesn’t just mean “during work hours” either. Their relationships always flow over into after hours. That’s really what makes them click with people. The writers reach into your heart, grab a string and begin to pull on something you need and long for. Community.
Last night I was struck once again with how much we need each other. We need opportunities for others to speak into our lives. We need opportunities to speak into others lives. If we don’t encounter others, we don’t have to change. If we don’t have to change, we’re probably not growing either. And soon we find ourselves aimlessly wandering the corridors of life looking for a way out of the numbness. That’s not a road I want to go down.
I thank God for friends and family of faith to share the journey with. Cheers!