A few years ago Tom Hanks starred in a terrific movie entitled, “Castaway.” Because of an airplane crash, Tom Hanks’ character was stranded on a deserted island for a prolonged period of time. I do not know too many adults who have not dreamed of a similar situation…minus the danger of course! We all treasure those quiet, reflective moments when we are alone. Jesus did, too. One of the spiritual disciplines is solitude and, I have to confess, it is my very favorite discipline. I love to be alone at times in the woods or on a quiet stream in my canoe. I think most people feel the same. A problem enters when we shut people out and want nothing to do with others. The idea of being a hermit or a castaway for a prolonged period is not very attractive to most people and for good reason. Humankind is made for community; this is especially true for the Christian community.
Monday…St. Simon Stylites is a character worth knowing about. Many years ago, he spent more than 37 years living on a tiny platform high up on a pole. He did this to protest the evil in his town of Aleppo in Syria and to show his disdain for the world. He probably made a good point, but Jesus tells us to “Go!” We are to go into our world and be salt and light.
Tuesday…Paul tells us in Philippians 1:7 that he has his fellow believers “in his heart.” We, too, will have people in our heart when we engage them…when we share our lives with them. Who among the believers at Fair Haven is in YOUR heart?
Wednesday…John 13:34,35 records where Jesus gave a new command to His people, namely that they were to love one another. This was ‘new’ in the sense that they were to love one another as He had loved them. Believers have always had the admonition to love each other, but to love as Jesus loves is a tall order indeed. This is obviously impossible unless we engage one another and get to know one another.
Thursday…Someone asked me when I was teaching at the Bible Seminary in Cincinnati if I noticed that houses today are built without front porches. This is not true 100% of the time, of course, but it most definitely is a fairly recent and common practice. People today want to be left alone. We have answering machines. We screen our calls. Having the neighbors over for a meal or to watch a movie, etc., is not common in too many neighborhoods. There is so much to entertain us that we simply do not seem to need or appreciate human connection. Let this never be so of the family of God!
Friday…Hebrews 10:24,25 is a powerful periscope. I just had lunch with a man who told me that the church he attends has lost about 100 in attendance per Sunday during the last year. Sadly, this is not unusual. The writer of Hebrews reminds us that we are to be in worship. It will follow, if we are not in regular worship with our church family, that we will drift apart. A lack of engaging others (I believe we could make the case for those both inside the church and outside the church), begins with being slipshod when it comes to corporate worship.