I tend to be just a bit of a “home-body.” Maybe it’s a streak of laziness. Maybe it’s that introvert part of me. But sometimes (many times?) it’s a lot easier to “do nothing” than to “do something.” This even extends to those good things, like family activities. For me, sometimes it’s easier to not participate (yes, I know that sounds terrible, but it’s true!) But most often I end up choosing to participate because I want my kids to remember their dad doing things with them, rather than them doing things without me. I guess many times quite frankly I am doing it for the “sake of children and the family.”
However, after I’m engaged, I find out very quickly that it was actually me that needed this experience perhaps even more than them. Now I didn’t necessarily need the activity we were engaged in. What I needed was enjoying and being with my family, and my friends. I needed to remember what was important, that life really isn’t all about me. I needed to be reminded that I belong to my family and they belong to me. I am a part of them. And that is a really good thing. For which I am so very thankful.
Being a part of a Small Group is kind of like that. Now initially we might actually join because we are focused on some things we can get out of it. Good things, but perhaps the more obvious things – learn the bible, meet some new people, help with certain challenges in life. Then we realize that these are real flesh and blood people who have hurts, challenges, pains, pressures and needs just like us. Very soon as we understand what a group is really all about, we are making that choice to come to each meeting because of them, not us. We begin to understand why our commitment to the group is so important – because others do need what we have to offer. And that’s a great thing.
Then something revolutionary happens. God begins to do a work in our life. We begin to learn and experience life in a whole new way. We experience it with others. We experience it in the context of loving, supporting relationships. We experience it with the prayer of others behind us. We experience the giving of ourselves to others. We begin to understand what commitment to others is all about. The “one another’s” of Scripture come alive. What is happening is that God is opening up a whole new way of life for us. A whole new life for us, where we belong to others and they belong to us.
In this context, God reveals himself to us in a whole new way, and we begin to grow in new ways. We chose to keep coming for them. Then we realized that we needed that group perhaps more than they ever needed us. Because God did something in us “above and beyond what we could every ask or think.” Something we couldn’t do for ourselves and quite often didn’t expect. Joy is the result. Gratitude and thankfulness to God. With that group of people we belong to.