Some people believe they have enough relationships. Some people wish they had more. But, no matter where you fall on the spectrum, the fact remains that you and I are called to relationships with those that live around us. More specifically, in our neighborhood.
You Must Eliminate Distance
Really, it’s the beginning to practically living in the Kingdom. For you cannot live in the Kingdom without living in one accord with others, and it’s extremely difficult, uncommon and not recommended to live in one accord with others that live more than walking distance from you.
I know, I know. Some of you will want to argue that you can do so, and that you can be creative with social media, and that if you’re really committed then people will make each other enough of a priority to make it work. But any success like this would be the exception, not the rule. (I will attempt to enlighten us on this subject in the future.)
My litmus test for living in community is this – if I wouldn’t come over to your house to get a cup of sugar to make chocolate chip cookies, you live too far away to live in close-knit-biblical-Kingdom-organic-body-church-life community. And I’m not getting in my car to get a cup of sugar; although I might for freshly baked chocolate chip cookies!
But you get the point. Now take a second to wipe the drool off your keyboard…
You Must Eliminate Busy-ness
So now we come to a crossroads. For most, it will likely be a difficult one. The crossroads is the intersection of already busy lives and the necessity of being frequently spontaneous and available to build relationships with those who live around you. It just doesn’t add up. There’s not enough time and energy.
What do you do? If you re-prioritize, you’re going to have to cut things out. There’s friends and family members that you love. There’s activities that you love. There’s the job you may or may not love :). Am I saying you will have to cut out things you love? I sure am. Feel the burn! 🙂
You Must Eliminate the Lies of Busy-ness
But just as soon as you realize you are over-committed, there’s some tricky little lies that will sneak into your head that will try to convince you that even though you’re over-committed right now, you can avoid cutting things out and still accept the call to be a part of close-knit community. Here they are (courtesy of my current book selection – The Art of Neighboring):
- Things will settle down someday. Ever hear this one? – “If I can just get past (fill in the blank), then I’ll start.” That one can take you right up to your deathbed!
- I just need to accomplish this first. There’s always something to be done or gained or consumed. As you reach a goal, there’s always the next one.
- Everybody lives like this. The oldest one in the book, right?! I can hear my mother saying “If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?” If you dig deep, you will find that no one really wants to live like this, and there are plenty of people that don’t.
Fighting these lies and having the courage to cut out good things – things that you love – for the sake of the best way to live according to God will be necessary if your hope is to live a Kingdom community lifestyle. As author John Ortberg says in the book The Life You’ve Always Wanted…
Love and hurry are fundamentally incompatible. Love always takes time, and time is the one thing hurried people don’t have.
Now it’s your turn. Can you relate to the little tricky lies? Do you disagree that you can’t live in close-knit community with people that don’t live around you? Have any good examples of something you’ve cut out that hurt because you knew you needed to?