Biblical Community: Our Daily Calling
- Gina Smith ginalsmith.com
- 2022 9 Jun
We were sitting at a local coffee shop, and I had just spent several minutes sharing how I had become confused as to what my calling was. Feeling pressure from different sources, I had begun to doubt the way we had been serving and living out community for almost 30 years. My friend, who is nearly ten years older than me, gently began to share with me from the Word of God. Her truth-soaked words quenched my thirsty soul after being left dry and weary.
"People need to be in your home, Gina." She stated. "They need to be cared for and nourished in the way God has gifted your family to do. They need to see how you run your home, how you prioritize your family, how you and Brian love each other, and they need to see you living life with your children. They need to sit at your table so that you can share your heart for Christ with them." She reminded me of the New Testament church, how God had called them to live, and how we have a similar calling in the day and age in which we live.
When a person is given the opportunity to have a front-row seat in the life of another, being able to hear and observe how God has and is working, that is when we sit amongst our best teacher. This setting is more effective than any program, philosophy, or seminar because you are observing the reality of Christ lived out. When Christ is the center of your life, and you give what you have been given (gifts, talents, possessions, and life), that is when the most effective biblical fellowship and community can begin.
The Daily Calling of Community
When studying the lives of the early church (New Testament believers), you will notice that they daily offered their homes and lives to Christ-centered community. They joined God in His plans and purposes, lived and offered the gospel to all they came in contact with and were devoted to fellowship with one another. They didn't just have fellowship; they devoted themselves to it! It was both a priority and the main objective when they were together. It is easy to think of fellowship and community as being done at church or when we are gathered in one place chatting, watching a movie, or sitting in a meeting. These are all good and can be a precursor to fellowship and community but do not fit the biblical definition for either.
The Apostle John writes, "What we have seen and heard we declare to you, so that you and we together may share in a common life, that life which we share with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ" (1 John 1:3). Fellowship and community are the sharing together in daily life and are 'relationship' rather than 'activity.' In Acts 2:42, the early church was not devoting itself to activities but to relationship. It was this relationship that led to actively sharing in other ways. This is a key part of this puzzle!
First: Prepare Your Heart
True biblical community and fellowship can only be done if we practice abiding in Christ. When we abide in Christ, we seek to maintain our connection and relationship with God and strive to draw from the life and prompting He gives. This gives us the sensitivity and ability needed to be aware of how He wants us to relate to those who naturally enter our daily life in some way.
As members of the body of Christ, we have experienced a love that has forever changed us. This love that has been so lavishly given is the same love that should motivate us in how we view those with whom we come in contact. We are the body of Christ and have an amazing calling and privilege to give our lives away. Christ came to give his life away, and we are called to do the same. We must remember that this may look different from person to person, from season to season, and the manner in which we accomplish this may vary from location to location. Tuning into and abiding in Christ is how we will be led to pursue our calling and develop a servant's heart attitude within us.
Second: Prepare Your Home
My favorite setting to practice caring for others is my home. We are all called to practice hospitality. No matter the size of your home, it is a place where you can choose to love others. According to the dictionary, hospitable means "to treat guests with warmth and generosity." It comes from the word hospital – a place where the sick and injured go for help and healing. We can act as a hospital for struggling people when we create a warm and generous atmosphere in our homes.
Because I never know when God will change my plans and make me aware of someone who needs care, I make it a habit always to have plenty of coffee, a variety of tea, and all the fixings to make relaxing beverages pretty and taste yummy! I also try to have a few snacks on hand – grapes, chips and salsa, cheese and crackers – and ingredients for a (not quite as healthy!) coffee cake that is easy to throw together and tastes AMAZING. Planning ahead tells the Lord I am ready to serve at a moment's notice. It is what I'm here for. It is the reason God has gifted me a home.
When we live this calling, we become a light for a lost world to see and a haven for those He brings into our home. How have you been living out your calling? To your neighbors, your family, your church? No matter who you are, if you are a God follower, His love can flow through you into the lives of others. We should be ready to give of ourselves and pour into the lives of those who are struggling. We can meet needs, care for them physically and spiritually, and offer what we all so desperately need: Jesus.
Because we are called to care for each other spiritually and physically, it is important to pray and ask God to help us tune in to those around us and to listen for what they may need. Then we will better know how to use the resources that God has given us - whether it's money, materials, time, talents, physical health, or intellectual abilities; when we choose to care for and bless another person, we are working on behalf of God and partnering with him for the sake of the gospel!
How to Use Hospitality for Outreach
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Shironosov
Gina Smith is a writer and author. She has been married for 34 years to Brian, a college professor, and athletic trainer. For 25+ years she and her husband served on a Christian college campus as the on-campus parents, where Brian was a professor and dean of students. They reside right outside of Washington DC and are the parents of two grown children, one daughter-in-law, and one son-in-law. She recently authored her first traditionally published book Everyday Prayers for Joy, available everywhere books are sold. You can find Gina at the following: Website:ginalsmith.com, Instagram, , and at Million Praying Moms, where she is a writer.