Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Individuals in Community: Children

The relationship between being individuals in community and being community at the expense of the individual isn't easy or simplistic.

We each have a God-given responsibility to discover the things that we can do better than most people (Psalm 139), sharpen those skills - become the best that we can be (Col. 3:23). That's stewardship. We each have a God-given responsibility to figure out how we can best give to (and graciously receive from) the faith and non-faith communities around us utilizing those gifts. That's service - our spiritual service of worship, if you want to take it to the next level. I believe we were made with these things in mind. Eph 4:1-16. It isn't that the giver needs recognition to build up his or her ego but exercising one anothers encouraging one another, giving thanks. . . and each of us giving back what we've been given is what it's all about.

This applies to adults and children. Children are a part of our communities learning who they are and how they fit. They won't always be children. While we wrestle, they watch, they listen, they learn. The sense of who they are and how they fit will follow them for a lifetime. I'm not talking about patronizing children or "including children" so that the kids are busy, so they feel important. I'm talking about giving them honest legitimate recognition and responsibility based on who they are, what they can do and what they can do well - giving them honest legitimate recognition and responsibility for giving what they have to give to the those around them. Recognition can be as simple as acknowledging, "You did a great job! [and tell them what they did so well] Would you like to do it again?" It doesn't have to be public recognition, awards or prizes.

Does that mean those with specific and obvious gifts and talents can't do all the other mundane, just-gotta-do-it chores that need to get done? Doesn't mean that. As servants, we also need to be willing and able to care for one another as needs arise and do things we don't think we can do, or don't want to do. Jesus washed feet.

We as individuals and we as the Body of Christ are multidimensional and multifaceted at every level. God is multidimensional and multifaceted at every level but I'm not God and we're not God. Life - the life of Christ - doesn't revolve around me nor does it revolve around us. But as individuals and as a Body we are created in His image to reflect, represent, and serve Him even as He appears in the least of us. But our reflecting, representing, and serving will always be flawed, cloudy, and imperfect. Keeps us humble.

So we're left as individuals and as a Body to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, strength and love our neighbor as ourselves with all that we are as individuals and as a community. It's vertical, horizontal, in-house and out. It covers our being individuals and being a Body. Here's a long list of one anothers from a couple years ago. Another approach to individuals in community.

. . . simplistically, of course, which it isn't!

No comments:

Post a Comment