Read His Words Before Ours!
If there is something I know a little about, it is family. I grew up the oldest of seven, and my immediate family currently numbers at 18. (Nope, that’s not a typo.) It’s safe to assume that nothing we do collectively could be considered “small” or “quiet.” A “little family get together” generally translates to 20-25 people, give or take a few, and it starts to feel a little too quiet with fewer than 12 in attendance. As a teenager, I remember focusing on the drawbacks of life with nine people in one house. Little to no privacy, little to no hot water for showers (if you weren’t one of the first four or five to jump in line), limited bathroom availability for applying makeup or styling hair (if all three were in use), and absolutely no quiet. I think we can all agree that those four “basic requirements” would be listed numbers one through four in any teen’s Survival Handbook. All joking aside, while there were challenges with so many in one household, there were also some amazing life rhythms instilled within each of us.
As large as our family was and is, my parents have always been intentional about inviting others to come and do life with us. This life rhythm stemmed from the truth that everyone belongs at the table. I remember so many Independence Day celebrations with our whole church body in my parent’s backyard, various holiday meals with one or two or even three additional families and various friends and acquaintances, and endless game nights filled with laughter.
As we read through Paul’s instructions in 2 Timothy, it’s impossible to ignore the bigger picture displayed here and exactly how much it has to do with belonging. In 2 Timothy 2:1, Paul first encourages Timothy to be strong. Immediately after that, Paul exhorts him to teach the truth to trustworthy individuals who will in turn pass along those same truths, thereby making disciples who make disciples. How fascinating that before elaborating on how followers of Christ should live, serve and pursue God, Paul instructs Timothy to invite others in. First and foremost, he instructs Timothy to come alongside others. To invite them to the table. To pour into them, so that they, in turn, might pour into others.
Can we each honestly say that we are living out this rhythm? In the hustle and busy of our daily routines and commitments, piles of laundry, stacks of homework and scores of tasks, are we intentionally inviting others into our lives so we can pour truth into them and teach them how to do the same for others? Or are we so wrapped up in our own achievements that we have lost sight of our purpose: to love God and others?
Listen, loves: we can’t pour into others when we don’t invite them to the table. Sometimes we (I) neglect to invite them in because we are so entrenched in our own schedules we fail to make space for others….and sometimes we neglect to invite them because we (I) forget that they already belong here. Our job is to extend the invitation.
As we go about this week, let’s take time in prayer to ask God who He would like us to build relationship with and invite to “do life” with us; who He would have us pour truth into. As He brings names to your mind, write them down and begin praying over them. Ask God to appoint opportunities to engage in and deepen those friendships.
Father, thank You for inviting us in. Thank you for paving the way for us to know and love You. Teach us how to be disciples who make disciples. We want to share the Truth of Who You are with those You’ve placed in our circles.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!