Relationships or Agenda

Alan Knox at The Assembling of the Church wrote a post a few days ago about What do you do when you can’t find fellowship with others? I followed the link to the LifeStream Blog post Loneliness and the Journey which had another link at the bottom of the post High Risk/High Reward of Relational Community.

Sorry for the rabbit trail, to make it simple, the page I am pointing to is here. It is a podcast by Wayne and Brad on The God Journey, that I listened to, and learned something very valuable.

Stop making such a big deal out it. Stop with the agenda.

I have put too much pressure on myself in trying to do it right. Why can’t I just share my life with others, invite them over for dinner just to get to know them better, have lunch with them, or even go on a bike ride or play a game of tennis with them. It doesn’t have to be all about God… because loving others is all about God. Does that make sense?

`A new commandment I give to you, that ye love one another; according as I did love you, that ye also love one another; in this shall all know that ye are my disciples, if ye may have love one to another.’ -John 13:34-35

Others will not know that we are disciples of Jesus because we schedule a Bible study, or organize a charity event, or invite a coworker to church, or any other act besides just loving each other. That seems to be what Jesus said, if that means anything (my interpretation, not asking if Jesus’ words mean anything).

Can it be loving to do those things, sure, but I think I’ve had an agenda for doing those things; starting something in my home, being visible in the community, growing the Church, etc.

That hasn’t been 100% of my agenda though. I have wanted to share Jesus and get to know others better, but the double agenda has gotten my off track. It has muddied the waters in my mind. I think I’m just going to try to focus on relationships for a while, then maybe other things will simply grow up around those relationships.

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8 Responses to Relationships or Agenda

  1. Mike Helms says:

    Hi Sol,

    I have a thought that I hope I can express, not sure, but I’m going to try! 🙂

    When I read what you have to say (not just in this post, but others as well) I hear a guy whose heart is longing for fellowship and is hungry for Jesus to be at the center of it. That’s all a good thing! I know that in my own personal experience, and that of a few others who I know who are outside the institutional church framework, that just having fellowship at all is a lot harder to come by. (At least where we live our situation is far from mainstream, and it’s harder to find other brothers and sisters in Christ to fellowship with.) So when we DO get together, I find that what all of us really want is mainly to talk about Christ, or read the bible, or worship in song, or talk about our life situations with Jesus as the focus… we’re hungry for all of that because it’s not as plentiful for many of us who have left the IC. So anyway, the thought that I had was maybe what you call an “agenda” really isn’t one? Maybe it’s just something your heart longs for and needs? Anyway, I could be missing what you’re saying, but that was a thought I had. Obviously, you alone know if you have other hidden motives for wanting to start something in your home etc., but the enemy of your soul (and God’s work) is also an expert at planting doubts and making you second guess everything. Our adversary would like nothing more than to paralyze us into inaction from fears that we’ll do things wrong. God encourages faith- that we take the step forward- and He’s big enough and gracious enough to cover whatever “mistakes” we might make along the way. A song comes to mind- Keith Green, “He’ll take of the rest”.

    Mike

  2. Mike,

    I don’t think my agenda has been an “evil” or selfish agenda, but it has pulled me some from focusing on Christ and loving others. I have felt discouraged that something isn’t happening when all around me are relationships I could be working on. I have ignored some of them because I have had an agenda, i.e., a desire to start “something”. I really believe now that if I simply start building relationships, the “something” will take care of itself. I won’t have to worry about it.

    Thanks for the comment. Hopefully I have spoken more clearly because of it. I know it was an encouragement.

  3. Steve Scott says:

    Greetings Sol,

    A rabbit trail got me here. I think a good way to put what you’re talking about is that we’ve become accustomed to being so serious about keeping the first great commandment that we ignore the second.

  4. Frank says:

    “Why can’t I just share my life with others, invite them over for dinner just to get to know them better, have lunch with them, or even go on a bike ride or play a game of tennis with them.”

    Sometimes there is a concealed guilt, or sense of obligation to God, that if we are not evangelising or doing obvious “God” things at every opportunity, we are terribly inadequate disobedient christians. GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY!!!
    Church doctrine has so perverted our subconscious with the mantra that “THEY are all going to hell, and it is YOUR fault.”
    Unless WE urgently tell them about Jesus, or WE urgently demonstrate by some pious activity, that WE, special people, are headed to heaven when we die, then we are guilty of their blood.
    There is little wonder that it can be so hard to just enjoy our neighbours and friends, if we believe any lack of diligence on our part will leave them with eternal damnation.

    I find it interesting that Jesus never worried about this aspect of life after death in his ministry. He majored on the Kingdom of Heaven being in the here and now, not when we are dead. Even when the rich young ruler came and asked a direct question, Jesus gave him the run around.
    What would the average active Christian do if someone in the street ran up and asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life”? Wow! Here’s one for the score sheet! “Get down on your knees and pray this prayer after me, etc…”
    I doubt that they would respond like Jesus did. -“Go away………..”

    In addition, if life after death was so predicated on some other knowledgeable person telling us all about it, why did it feature absolutely nowhere in the Mosaic law period of Israel. ie. why did we never see any pattern of evangelism in Judaism, as part of the period before Christ. Did God not care for souls before Christ came? Surely the OT prophets and righteous men would be concerned for the eternal welfare of the neighbouring peoples, or even their own people.
    Nope! Seems that they didn’t really care! The afterlife was nowhere on their agenda. (Apart from rare mentions, like Samuel’s reappearance to Saul at the witch of Endor scene.)
    What did they all know that we don’t?

    The answer is quite simple. The gospel is not, and never was about rescuing people to get them to heaven when they die!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The Gospel is about today! God’s kingdom is about today!

    I don’t feel the slightest guilt about any person’s eternal state. That is God’s business. Life after death is not directly what the Gospel is about.
    I enjoy my life in Christ, and I live my life from the Kingdom of Heaven, as a state of being around me NOW, not after I die.
    If the Lord gives me a reason to speak to anyone about the Kingdom I most certainly will. In the meantime, I am getting my own life in obedient order to the whisper of what Jesus wants, not because I want to impress other non-believers, but because I love my King.
    I don’t let religious guilt run my life. Jesus set me free from that.

    • I think I see where you are going, Frank. Thanks for the comment.

      At the same time we are living in the Kingdom here and now, we do look ahead with joyful anticipation like Paul did. We are also to watch and be ready like Jesus said.

      The good news is for both now and for ever.

  5. Mike Helms says:

    Hi Sol,

    I was on a getaway with my wife and we left the technology at home so I haven’t been able to respond to your post until today. Unfortunately, the post that I just wrote you didn’t upload because I forgot to put my name and email in the form- when I hit the back button my text was gone! Bummer!

    Maybe you’ll still get a private copy in WordPress? I don’t know how that works… anyway, I don’t have the time to retype everything so just wanted to say I get what you’re saying about the relationship thing, and agree with you. 🙂

    Blessings! Mike

    • Serious bummer Mike! I hope you have time to retype it sometime. I’ve done that before and just gave up and went on. Its never as well said as the first time you put your thoughts down… for me anyway.

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