Friday, October 1, 2010

Spelling Tests and Towers.

I remember in 3rd grade, one of my spelling words for the week was COMMUNITY. And if there was anything that I was actually good at academically, it was spelling. Times have changed a bit... I mean... I like spelling and such, but I felt like spelling was my best subject because I truly hated the rest.

I was probably every teacher's nightmare because A) I talked in class everyday. SO much so that I sat out at least 3 or 4 times a week from recess. The orange and red cards became an everyday norm in my elementary life. B) I hated completing homework assignments. And C) I talked too much... please see A.

But again, I loved spelling. I loved the idea of memorizing words, learning what they mean. I remember my mom defining words for me and the joy that would arise when I would use a word IN CONTEXT successfully. The clouds parted and the sun shone in the big blue sky when I noticed liter in the road and said, "Mom, what's up with all of this debris in the road?"

Anyways... tangent. Sorry. One week, community was a word that was added to my list of spelling words for that day. I was so excited to learn it. I was so proud when I aced that spelling quiz. Not because it was my only A that week... but because of the accomplishment I felt knowing that I knew big new words.

If there is one thing a communications studies major knows is that communication is key to any relationship between two or more people. The word community actually derives from the word communication. If you check out the Greek word used for communication in the Bible, you will find two references - koinoneo meaning "to have share in" (Strong's 2841) and sunkoinoneo "to share together with" or "communicated with" or "have fellowship with" (Strong's 4790). Now check this out: the word for communion or community in the Greek is: koinonia meaning "having common koinos, partnership, fellowship" (Strong's 2842).

So pulling it all together, God calls us to be a community of people who share common interests and fellowship - but who connect and communicate those interests together. Let's see what scripture says about koinonia.

Today, in our Fellows Bible study at 8AM (ouch...), we discussed the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. Yeah yeah... the origin of all the languages, blah dee blah dee blah... But let's think of it in a different way. Why were these people coming together to build a tower? One new theory that I heard today is this: they were building a tower to yes, use their skills to create something for themselves, but maybe it was built to help them avoid another flood like the one God had created in chapter seven. They were building a tower for protection and boasting in their own creative manly abilities to do so. Why would God confuse those people? We then took a gander at the awesome Acts 2:40-47.

Tower of Babel Peeps-
You got your creative guys here taking all necessary measure to protect themselves from God's crazy flooding ways. They were excited to work together. However, was their work for the Lord? Did it glorify Him at all? He just made a covenant with them in Genesis 10:15 and promised never to bring the flood again - but by building this preventative tower, they were throwing out God's promise like yesterday's bran muffin.

Acts 2 Koinonia Peeps-
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 2:42-47

Like the Tower peeps, this group had stuff in common. They obviously got along, they worked together, had fun, they were communicating. But here is the different defining characteristic - everything they did was unto the Lord. They gave up their belongings to serve others, they ate together, prayed together, they hung out at church with each other, they praised the Lord as a Body, and they were able to draw others nearer to the Lord by upholding this awesome koinonia example. See how they communicated? They used their common denominator: Christ and everything else fell into place.

When we use Christ in our lives to control our hearts and actions, see what happens in your community life. The Tower folks had good EARTHLY intentions, but who were they really serving? Themselves. God calls us to be a community - yes - and that is important. But He also calls us to be servants and not only serve each other, but serve Him and His people. How amazing is it to be in a koinonia environment? We are so blessed, but we tend to all loose site of the blessing sometimes.

I know I have been on a community kick lately, but bare with me. God is making it more evident how important each person is in the Body and we must embrace it all. He delights when we commune with each other, but even more so when we commune and glorify Christ together. I am still learning how to do this. My prayer is to learn how to continue to embrace koinonia, open my heart to new people, and invest myself in others who seek to glorify the King. We can get wrapped up in building our own towers - ones that consume our focus and that cause us to celebrate in our own victories. But we are being called to pour ourselves into others and have Christ pour into us as a whole so that we may be a sacrificing Body for the Lord.

Of the Vine,

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