TEACH ME TO COMMUE FOR A REASON
Talk is necessary to go and get things done. We do this by asking, seeking and knocking (Matthew 7:7-8). We learn to commune with each other, in order to get along and get things done. We endeavor to stay in longer relationships and sooner than later, we realize that we are not getting anywhere. In a church gathering, the pastor asked the congregation what they understood by “community?” It was not surprising that there were different versions and different ways to communicate the meaning itself. In my own experience as a pastor, I was not as efficient as I ought to have been. I am 82, and I am still learning how to commune, in a way that the reason for my/me being here has some purpose or goal. I have tried to build a larger inner circle and I have yet to succeed. It is pleasing to be in long relationships, but where does such endless hanging out lead us?
I looked for some help in the Bible and Moses, the Great Lawmaker, came to mind. He, too, had a serious problem communicating God’s intentions for the Jewish’ people. Moses felt inept and said to the Lord, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The Lord said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or dumb? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go: I will help you speak and teach you what to say.” But Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and his heart will be glad when he sees you. You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to say. He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him” (Exodus 4:10-16).
Moses communicated, with the help of Aaron. Like Moses, we too need help from people that have the gift of bringing people together for a cause. It is a learning experience. My wife and I would not have met, had it not been for relatives. They prepared us for each other and we entered a relationship that has lasted over fifty-two years. It is amazing how we still are learning how to go on communing. We can converse with everyone, but we are not created to be in constant communion with everyone. To love everybody does not mean we have to be in bed with everyone. The Good Samaritan did not go to bed with the man he helped. Unfortunately, some do and the consequences are horrendous. As followers of Christ, we have a mission in this world to share His message of salvation by making disciples and not organization groups that agree with us (Matthew 28:16-20). We are commanded to be on the move and not become stationary. The first Jerusalem Christians did have things in common until God used Herod to scatter them (Acts 8:1-8).
Jesus gave, His commissioned servants, specific instruction as to how to proceed in communicating and hanging out with likeminded people. “Do not go among the Gentiles (hostiles) or enter any town of the Samaritans (haters). Go to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go preach this message: ‘the kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead or cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for your journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is receptive let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.” Jesus also added, “I am sending you like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:5-14, 16).
Jesus did not leave much room for communication or hanging out with large crowds or congregations. He left the task to men like Paul to organize larger groups in homes and later on in meeting halls. Paul, too, had an idea how one could best commune with others. They had to be of one mind and belief: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For, we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ ‘Therefore come out from them and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty” (II Corinthians 6:14-18). It is at this level where most of the edifying takes place among the communicants. For that purpose Jesus said the following, “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For, whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:8-12).
Long ago, even before Jesus came, godly people came to the conclusion that the best way to commune with others was over God’s law or direction. “The man (person) is blessed who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stands in the way of sinners or sits in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers” (Psalms 1:1-3). We can become too rooted and too comfortable within circles, not as a means to an end but the end itself. That is contrary to Christ’s commission to go into the world and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).