"All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him..." 1 Sam 22:2
Don't you love that word - togetherness?
From when God made Adam in the garden, he said that it 'was not good for man to be alone...' The Trinity is the frame and foundation for all of life. This perfect togetherness is defined as being 'unity in diversity'. We were simply not made to be alone, work alone, partner alone [if that were possible].
When I met Dudley Daniel in 1983, he spoke then of this verse - a promise God gave him of those who would be joining him on this global adventure of discipling the nations. And we saw this happening. Many connected in from many backgrounds, with as many stories and God forged us into a strong fighting force advancing the kingdom. Paul echoed this sentiment when he wrote: "Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong...Let him who boasts boast in the Lord" 1 Cor 1:26 - 31
Whilst we were on sabbatical, we were enquiring from the Lord what he requires of us, He took me back to this text. The emphasis to me was not David as leader. Rather it was the glorious redemption of a gracious God who loves doing great things with ordinary people, together.
genesis has no dreams of global colonization. Rather there is the desire to see those who lead churches and even the churches themselves, journey from distress, in debt, discontented to find new God grace rhythms to health and wholeness. Added to this is to see hub / base / lighthouse churches established who shine their light to provide love, protection, security, clarity and example to the smaller churches under their orb. And then of course, to see from each nation the emergence of an authentic indigenous apostolic story / sphere emerge [from one apostolic story, many]. That is a togetherness that is worth fighting for.
This kind of togetherness [like a family] celebrates diversity, uniqueness, creativity. It seeks to help every church find their own story whilst loving belonging to a bigger story at the same time. This kind of togetherness like a good father, who loves seeing each child as fearfully and wonderfully made without feeling the pressure to get each child to conform to one style, size or behavior.
Togetherness that revisits the scripture, embraces the solid foundation that the scripture provides [as we find it in our statement of faith], whilst allowing room for love, leadership, learning and humility. It values every church as well as incorporates a sense of belonging and the safety of not being alone.
"... you also are like living stones are being built into a spiritual house..." 1Pet 2:5
This house that the Father is building is not made of bricks[each one exactly the same - same words, theology, vocabulary, liturgy...] but of stones, each one gloriously different and yet similar enough to be built into a single house. This togetherness is not around conformity but similarity. Again I am not putting my passion on others, however the DNA that governs our journey is celebrating trinitarian unity and diversity. That is not an easy house to build, but it is a togetherness that is worth fighting for.
A peep into the language and imagery of the prophet reads: "I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive. I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together" Is 41:19. The clever people tell us these trees do not naturally live together. There ecological requirements are different - but when God joins us together on mission, it works... there is "a pool of water in the wilderness" vs 18
Those who in distress, in debt, discontented are not to be left in their trauma. True togetherness will place us on a journey "that you may mature and complete, lacking nothing" Jam 1:4. The perseverance that the trials will require include the challenges of togetherness. But I would not have it any other way.