Not Enough TIME?! :)
Sunday Evening, April 2, 2000
Question: Dear Family, This is all quite a bit more than we thought at first. Please don’t misunderstand—that is not to say that we reject it—rather, we’re beginning to realize how much we need it! But no doubt about it—it changes pretty much EVERYTHING. We’ve been pondering something—if you are meeting daily, in different sized groups, how do you get housework, home schooling (if any of you are home schooling), lawn work, errands, etc.—general day-to-day-necessary work done? Please, please continue to lift us up in prayer, both for our discernment and even more, to combat the warfare that we see escalating as a result of our search.
Great questions—thank you! And the courage you expressed in the Journey you’re describing you have embarked upon is encouraging to me. Good stuff. : ) In brief, the “extra” time (in our busy world) to LIVE OUT the Life of Jesus, together, visibly, as “a city set on a Hill that CANNOT be hidden” comes from:
1) PRIORITIES! “Seek FIRST the Kingdom!” Few would tolerate Acts 2:42-47 in their lives because honestly, they don’t want the Christ-Life. They prefer God to be on their schedule. That’s “love of the world” and “lukewarmness” and “idolatry” on some level, whether intentional or not. If we allow the world and its demands and our desires to dominate our schedules, and then try to add Him to all of that nonsense, we’re making a huge mistake and we’ll never “SEE Him Who is invisible,” or “SEE the Kingdom” in our lives. We may “escape as one through the flames,” but we’ll never truly “taste the power of the Coming Age”—as is our Inheritance. Unfortunately, most will die in that state. They allow guitar lessons, little league baseball, errands, housework, making money, spending money, isolating and focusing on their genetic family, homeschooling, and a thousand other things to consume the majority of their time and energy.
Those who say they have continual wondrous ecstatic experiences with Jesus, but live in this state of mixed priorities and worldliness (except on Sunday) are generally hallucinating. Living truly in “the power of an indestructible Life” comes from “losing your life”—“dying to the world and the world to you”—and “the seed falling to the ground and dying.” The only place where the enemy is shamed and destroyed is “the cross.” “It is the same now.” He is our “all in all” and one will “live and move and have our being in Him,” or it is not the Testimony of Heavenly Life which Jesus lived for and died for. We may not be addicted to going to “bury my father,” or “saying goodbye to my father and mother.” Those radical things JESUS said were mandatory in order to be the real thing—ARE MANDATORY! : ) Jumping up and down on Sunday in a meeting, or knowing a lot of Bible will not substitute for Reality. “Jesus we know and Paul we know about—but who are YOU!!??” said the unimpressed demons that ripped to shreds the religious men with the right words. In the unseen realm, it matters what our real daily priorities are, and how we really live, and where our passions and time REALLY are.
2) “Extra time” also comes from “whether food or drink, do ALL to the Glory of God.” All of the “important” chores? Mowing the lawn, fixing the house, doing the laundry, going to work, shopping...ALL of that MUST be woven into the HIGHER priority of God’s Life and God’s House. In other words, a disciple in the midst of LIFE will seldom head out to the hardware store without looking for a brother to come along. And not just “their spouse.” That’s only one disciple of many.
Why would I bring someone else along on a menial chore? Because, “where two or three are gathered...” JESUS is there and I’d like Jesus along in special measure. Also, the Spirit of God, we are told, distributes the Gifts that Jesus had/has amongst all of the members of the Body of Christ. Of course I’m delighted to have extra firepower along when I’m talking to an unBeliever at the checkout counter, or a person mowing the lawn at a location. Time-sapping duties? Do the laundry and house cleaning together whenever possible. Help each other in whatever you’re doing. “THIS is how ALL MEN will know that you are MY disciples: by the love that they see you having for each other” (Jn. 13:35). The unBelieving world needs to see me loving on my brothers and sisters in daily life! It is essential for my growth that my life is in front of and intertwined with the lives of other disciples. It is for my Good in a thousand ways, as well as for the good of “all men”—as Jesus said.
We have every kind of prominent and time-consuming professional job responsibilities within the Church here, as well as every fatiguing labor-intensive occupation and trade. And NONE of the Saints would MISS an opportunity to be at a 3 a.m. baptism, even on a so-called “work day” or because “the children are tired.” What kind of priorities are we teaching our children!!?? We’ve got all the time in the world for what’s most important in our lives, whether we live in Nigeria or in Alabama.
Life in Christ is not at all based on “meetings”—as wonderful as meetings can be. Being with others, “from house to house” doesn’t imply meetings at all. At least not how most would define meetings! We can be daily “from house to house” and give and receive the Word of God, join together in speaking with Father about things going on, help each other in body, soul, and spirit every day—and never have any “official meeting” at all in that process!
3) In order to “admonish one another daily,” “confess sins one to another,” “bear one another’s burdens to fulfill the law of Christ” and the other fundamentals of Christ-Life...you won’t be able to do any considerable percentage of it over the telephone, or “just with my spouse.” That’s just not the Intent of, or Spirit of the Scriptures. It’s not Jesus’ Way, or very fruitful—two very good tests. The very word often translated “admonish” or “warn” or “encourage” in the Command of the Master in Hebrews 3 could be translated from the compound word this way: “Be called alongside one another daily,” as long as it is called today, SO THAT none are hardened and deceived by sin. “Called alongside.” Phone calls are great “fillers,” but surely don’t suffice for the impartation of Life and Love and Truth as a Kingdom of Priests, or the receiving of these essentials within the Body of Christ Jesus.
Ohh, I definitely understand the pressures that you mentioned and totally FEEL the pressures with you. I know it’s hard. The Kingdom is entered with much tribulation, I guess, eh? Worth it? OH, yes. “A HUNDRED mothers, brothers, sisters, lands, possessions, tribulations, and Zoë Life that always was and always will be!” : ) It was a great question from sincere hearts. No doubt in my mind.
Much love to you, and the prayer that you asked for...always.
“Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:8).