As a family, we are a part of a large community which is found in Youth With A Mission, also known as YWAM. We have been with this organization since before we were married. We survived the tough first years of adjustments as newly weds in this community. We have raised our kids in this community. And more importantly, we have been molded to disciple the nations in this community.
Life in community is a core value of YWAM. It is stated as a value to be Relationship-Oriented. YWAM is dedicated to being relationship-oriented in our living and working together. We desire to be united through lives of holiness, mutual support, transparency, humility, and open communication, rather than a dependence on structures or rules.
Over the years we have experienced many things living in community as we have strived to be relationship-oriented. Some of those things have been negative but by far the majority have been very positive.
My purpose in writing this blog today is not to talk about our personal experience, but to talk about a reality of life in community that I have just recently discovered. This discovery started with reading my Bible. I encountered this new treasure when I pushed through the first few books in the Bible for the first time ever in my life. These nuggets of gold were found in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. I know that for many people just reading that list gets you snoring. Believe me, I use to feel the same way.
I remember sitting in my chair and I had my Bible on my lap. I opened my Bible and began to read. I would look at some of the short notes in the columns to help me understand more of what was going on. As I took time to read through these books to get a continued feel to the story many things began to pop out at me. One of these things was how it is God’s guide to His people for living relationship-oriented life in community. Wow! I didn’t know that was in the Bible. Isn’t it just a bunch of rules that don’t apply to us anymore so we can ignore them? (Unfortunately, this is what many Christians think.) NO! It is amazing how God took such good care of His people, even down to the details (these details seem boring because we don’t understand them but it is amazing!).
God tells you how to live in harmony with those who are different than you. Believe me, after years of living life with people who are different than me, some guidelines are VERY helpful to build a foundation of how decisions are made and to know what is expected of each other.
There are many things that we can apply today!
One of my favorite ideas is how God told them over and over and over again to take care of the foreigners around them. They were told to LOVE the foreigners-the refugees, the immigrants, those who do not know the language or the customs of the culture.
Leviticus 19:33-34 (NIV) says:
“‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself.”
Community was designed to encourage us to be relational. As human beings we are made for relationships. Let’s make sure that these relationships help those who need a little extra support– our neighbors, co-workers, the foreigners around us!