Morning Reflections – 2 Thessalonian 3:11-15

What does it mean to be part of a community? I think about this
question a lot. In my current context I am constantly inviting people
to participate in what we are doing as a new church. We have designed
our time together on Sunday mornings in such a way that we hope anyone
can come and participate and it is always our hope that these
gatherings are meaningful and impactful to everyone who comes. But
also, at the heart of what we do is an invitation to something more.
It's an invitation to be part of a movement… to be part of a
community of people who are wholly committed to entering into a
deepening relationship with Jesus… to learning more fully what it
means to Love God, Love Others and Serve the World. This isn't intended
to pressure people into deeper commitment or even to be more involved
in what we are trying to do. But the reality is we're not just trying
to create a nice little service on Sunday mornings… we are trying to
discover how we can get on board with how God is already at work in
this community and partner with him in changing the world… because it
is one thing to just talk about all the ways that Jesus is at work and
transforming our lives, but it is quite another to live like it is
true. So there comes a time when one must make a deeper commitment to
the community, which means an understanding of and accountability to
our vision and our values. Simply put, real community doesn't just
happen. Real community is created when people come together around a
common interest or a common mission or a common purpose.

On the surface this text from 2 Thessalonians 3 might seem judgmental
or exclusionary, but I think it is just an example of what to do when
those who have committed themselves to the purpose and vision of a
community choose to break from that commitment. This isn't about
holding a standard to, or passing judgment, or placing expectations on
those who have never agreed to what the community is about. This is for
those who have agreed… those who have committed themselves to a
common purpose, but are now breaking that commitment. We are to remind
them of what it is that we are about, and that to which they committed
themselves. If they continue to live in such a way that is not in line
with the values of the community then they are no longer granted a
voice in the community.

How many times have we witnessed the destructive power of allowing
someone to have a prominent voice or hold a prominent position of
leadership in a church when they are at odds with the agreed upon
purpose and vision of that church? As we are reminded in verse 15,
these people are not our enemies, they are fellow believers, but we
must not allow those who are working against the community to dismantle
that which is at the core of the community itself.

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