In the 22nd chapter of the book of Matthew, Jesus, as was true many times, was asked a question. He was asked, “…which is the greatest commandment..?" Our savior cooly responded, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commands.”
As we think our way through TheCommon.org, our philosophy and our desire for it’s efficacy, these two commands serve as foundations for all that we do.
It is interesting how living out either of these commands individually predicates the second in practice as well. Let me say that more clearly.
It is my belief that scripture exhorts us that if we pour our heart into loving the Lord, we will also do well at loving our neighbor. And if we love our neighbor as ourselves, we in turn love the Lord our God.
A scriptural link between these two commands–and their mutually-effectual nature– was made by Jesus too. “Whatever you do to the least of these…you do unto me…" He also said, ”…whoever wishes to be first must become last…the servant of all…“
It is in service that we exalt our Lord, others and ourselves. By becoming servants, we are edified, as we work out the building up of others, for the glory of God.
This all may seem like quite a mouthful, and perhaps does not cohere in text as well as it does in my head, but I want to communicate this to be the foundation and motivation for all that we do, and pray to someday do, with TheCommon.org. Though our name comes from the book of Acts, the 2nd chapter (”…and they shared everything in common…“). I see the life-blood of TheCommon.org in these few verses from Matthew. Further, they are, I believe with every fiber of my being, the very pneuma of our lives here on earth. The sum up of God’s design: He gets glorified, others are edified, we become exalted in humbling ourselves, and God receives glory for the majesty of this creation.
Now, the tough part…let’s actually live it. Everyday, every hour, every minute. We’re not going to accomplish this perfectly, and there will be times whence we fall flatly on our faces, but we going to run full-speed toward it everyday! We’re trying to make this a more practical and effective pursuit, by creating an tool for communities to meet and help other communities. Can I get an amen?!?
Love you all,
No, I’m not going to talk about films Kevin Bacon has appeared in. Nor am I quoting some cheesy John Mayer lyric (listen to “Come Back to Bed” on “Heavier Things). Yeah, lamo.
I am going to talk about communities, neighbors and the way goodness spreads. As most of you know, we started TheCommon.org with two really great communities: Ada Bible Church and Mars Hill.
These communities started putting TheCommon.org to use, loving their neighbors and sending vibrations through the community. But, just as "no man is an island,” no community is an island, either. And the ripples of one community stir up the air in another community.
A very cool example of this happened for us last week. Ada Bible Church has been running with TheCommon.org, nearly since it’s inception, and they’ve been really owning the vision. They’ve signed up over 300 people, made announcements from the pulpit–to get people involved–and created some beautiful success stories. Those stories are why TheCommon.org exists.
Further, Ada does podcasts of their sermons, which have a rather vast audience. It just so happens that the ripples that were sent out from Ada’s podcast reached the pond of a community in IL. Consequently, after hearing about TheCommon.org near the end of one of Ada’s podcasts, the community in IL caught the vision and signed up for TheCommon.org. So cool!
But, this is also a basic philosophy of dissemination. God called us to look after our neighbors, as the 2nd greatest commandment of his entire word. I believe this is because He knows full-well that when we help our neighbor, it changes them. When they’re changed, they help their neighbor. We (ourselves) may not have ever known or had contact with this neighbor, but the basic chain reaction that God originated and we decided to continue affected our neighbor’s neighbor. Yup. And, guess what, it continues, when that neighbor is changed. And, that’s how good builds his kingdom.
What’s crazy to me is that He allows us–broken, messy people–to be his tools for construction. Wow. Right?
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