Life in community was something that I thought I knew enough about. But its been powerful to see how God moved through one member of our team.
Life in community is:
Inviting other people into your mess
Accepting other people in their mess and seeing them as Heaven sees them
Inconvenient but rewarding
An opportunity for deep, accelerated relationships
Humbling, sharpening and makes us better
A life that requires flexibility and generosity
Let me explain…
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
I never would have thought that I could have been the kind of person who could share her home with someone other than her husband. I’m a pretty particular person and have a hard time sharing (especially food!) without first prepping my spirit and reminding myself that God has been generous with me and I can be generous with others. I could sit here and speculate that it probably stems from growing up overseas and learning to hoard Easter candy from the U.S. at a young age but that justification still doesn’t help me today, now does it? The irony of all of this is God has definitely given me the gift of hospitality which I think is a perfect picture of how our weaknesses only make room for his power to shine through us.
Fast forward to when we moved to Cape Town. We shared the second bedroom in our new home with one of God’s favorites, Colton. He is a 21 year old dude from the States who came to Cape Town for 3 months to love God and love his people. I’m sure he would tell you that it wasn’t always roses sharing a common space with me day-in and day-out. I had a pet peeve of “electricity wasting” and would follow him around our small apartment turning the lights off behind him (sorry for that…). He saw me at some pretty low points where I had to ask for forgiveness for what I had said. But through the mess, he became family. We shared leftovers together. We played a rousing game of pictionary weekly. We wrestled through the truths of God and he joined us when J.J. and I needed prayer. We encouraged each other, challenged each other and enjoyed each other’s company. I was SO SAD when he left to go back to the States and felt like we’d lost a member of our family.
Colton taught me the sweetness of community and I cannot wait to open up our home again to someone else who needs it. How cool is that?! We miss you Colton!