My wife and I have moved just once in our married life and in many ways it was tough. We lived in Memphis for two years before coming to Charlotte. While in Memphis we knew that God was calling us to ministry and that our time in Memphis would be short. At first our reaction was to keep shallow relationships with those that we met in the church and in the community. We did not want to become so involved that leaving would be painful because of the investment of time, energy and love.
The Lord quickly changed our hearts and we ended up staying in Memphis longer than expected, giving us the ability to have deeper relationships. Upon leaving I had no regret for the time that I had invested in others and in our church. In fact I wish we put in more time than we actually did. It was difficult to leave so many loved ones, but for fellow believers, there was a deep sense that even if we did not see them again on this side of heaven we knew we would be spending eternity with them.
In this passage in Acts, I see Paul speaking about how he has poured himself out for others and for the church. It is difficult for him to leave because of the love he has for the people and yet he knows that God has called him. There is this powerful moment in verse 37 where the people embrace Paul in kissing him and they are weeping. What a powerful sense of community and love for one another. This comes at the end of Paul’s speech to how he has served Christ. So we see that true and deep community is built off loving and serving Christ together.
Even though it was difficult for Meghan and I to leave our church community in Memphis we knew that God was calling us and through this he is further equipping us and teaching us about serving him. It is a joy to grow in love and service to Christ. It is not a waste to invest in others and to challenge and encourage each other to grow in the knowledge of our savior. This is true and rich community and I pray that we strive to do this in the spheres that we find ourselves.
Scripture: Acts 20:17-38
Sermon: Giving Ourselves To Friendships In The Church
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
~ C.S. Lewis