I sat down for lunch one time with two good brothers in the kingdom. I knew each of the brothers well and figured they needed to know one another. I knew that if I introduced them, they would hit it off. So, I arranged our little lunch gathering.
I normally show up for such event early. But both brothers beat me to the designated eatery and had deducted that the other was the brother they were there to meet. By the time I had gotten there, they had struck up a conversation. Interrupting their interaction with my arrival, hugs were given all around and then we proceeded to our table.
At our table, they continued their previous conversation. This was fine for me since the entire reason we were all together was for them to meet and get to know one another. So, I just sat there and listened.
Not knowing what they were talking about, it took me a few minutes of listening to come up to speed. Ultimately I determined that they were discussing the nuances of a particular “hot topic” doctrinal issue. I have to admit, it seemed a bit strange to me for brothers who just met to be involving themselves in such a venture. It was becoming a bit uncomfortable actually as each brother took their stance and, though it was amicable, defended their position.
Now, maybe it was just me, but this is not how I saw the meet and greet going!
Fortunately, the waitress came to take our orders. I thought this was a good thing because maybe the interruption would provide an end to the existing conversation and open the door to a more, in my opinion, suitable track of spoken words.
Having just returned from a trip visiting a community in a different state, one of the brothers asked me how the trip went. I gave a brief recap and then redirected the conversation back to the two brothers getting to know one another and potentially connecting.
So, I broached the subject of family since I knew both had similar situations. After sharing the basic details of family life, the conversation was redirected to the “what do you do in ministry” question. As I ate my lunch, I watched as these two brothers began comparing ministries and sizing one another up based upon apparent success. My salad lost all of its taste as I observed the old nasty, competitive, one-up you, what you can do I can do better thing sit down at the table with us. Then, the name dropping began.
Okay………..I’ve had enough.
I blatantly interrupted. “You know, guys..” I blurted, “…I wanted you two to meet because I know that you both……” And then I shared a weakness and a humbling moment of brokenness that I knew that we all three had experienced and shared in common.
It got real quiet at the table. I’ll never forget it. Both brothers reached for their glasses at the same time and took a slurp of their tasty luncheon beverage.
I continued. “Do you remember, (name of one brother), when I shared that with you and how excited you were to find a brother who could relate with you and minister to you?” Brother 1 nodded and whispered, “Yeah.”
“It’s pretty much the same way you responded, (name of brother number two), isn’t it?” I asked. Brother 2 sighed deeply.
After some further encouragement, we reconnoitered our conversation and began to focus on our brokenness and inabilities and the goodness of Father surfaced along with Christ’s preeminence. This “inside the box lunch” became a much different discussion and one that I was pleased and blessed to be involved in.
The longer I live the more I realize that life is short. I’ve sat in on and participated in many conversations like the one formerly mentioned. I don’t want to spend any time I have left doing such things. However, I am completely open to conversations like the latter.
I have learned over the years that Kingdom connections aren’t based upon a brother’s apparent strengths and abilities but are formed based upon how Christ has been known in and through brokenness. I don’t want to meet a brother gathered around his anointing, calling or charisma….or mine. I want to meet a brother at the Cross……………at the point of death to ourselves along with our ambitions, agendas, titles and ideas of what we want to do for God. I’ve discovered true, deep, meaningful connections are grounded in such a death and infused with His Resurrection Life. If “what we are going to do” isn’t fully and authentically grounded in “what He has done” in us, then I’m out.
Fortunately, Father has blessed me with like-minded brethren and my life is deeply enriched through them. At times, I’m thoroughly amazed at the increase, growth and maturity I see in my life and other brothers through such relationships. It is the type of traction I have always desired to see in my faith walk. It doesn’t compute into terms of the antiquated church structure or religious form, nor should it. Such relationships and the experiences accompanying them are substantive of the New Creation and consistently transformative.
I reckon that this post is a simple, sincere thank you to those brothers with whom I walk in the Kingdom. My life has forever been changed, and, I fully expect, will continue to be transformed through your willingness to be transparent, humble and truly loving by accepting me as I am but encouraging me to grow. I believe we are on the right path and my prayer is that we continue to be led by the Spirit and humble ourselves as sons in Father’s House!
Keep your peace!