Saturday, August 25, 2007

No friendship no function

Acts 8:18-21 says, When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money and said, "Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit." Peter answered: "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God..."

I've been attending a church for about 1 year now that has built an incredibly successful culture based (among others) on this principle, 'No Friendship No Function'!
Perhaps the above scripture provides an extreme perspective considering what we know of the heart and the motivation of Simon the Sorcerer, but it does highlight my point;
Peter was effectively saying to him, 'You have no relationship with the one of whom the power that you desire to posses comes from, therefore your right to function out of that gift is denied'

Even though the majority of us Christians out there don't arrive at a local congregation with a motivation born out of the kingdom of darkness, but we do perhaps look to what gifts we can bring to that congregation before we look to building genuine and transparent relationship.

Jesus puts it like this, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

How often do we - the body of Christ - function out of our gift before we function out of relationship with one another?
John Maxwell may call it, The Law of the inner circle; the level of my success is determined by the people around me.
Jesus would probably direct our attention to not just his relationship with the 12 disciples, but
Peter, James & John in particular.

I think our 'gift' often allows us the opportunity to bypass the burden and the necessity of relationship - otherwise known as the less confrontational easy road. When you think about it, Jesus didn't really need to be born in a manger and then grow up and spend 3 years with a bunch of fisherman and tax collectors. Instead he could simply have exercised his power, or 'gift', and the world would have been fixed. But he didn't. He sacrificed his power for the sake of love. And through the ultimate act of love, his power not only conquered life and death, but set me free!

Perhaps function without friendship equals a love that has no power.

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