Investment Opportunity by Thaxton Gamache
My very old and dear friend John Alderton was in town this past summer. His dad, Mark, was a pastor on staff here for years. John and I were best friends during some of the most formative years of our lives. I was pretty wrecked when he and his family moved to Colorado back in 2008. I've learned a lot from him over the years, and continue to do so even though the states of South Dakota and Nebraska separate us now. I even learned a lot from him the weekend he visited. Not the least of which was that he thought I was really annoying when we first met and our parents forced us to spend time together.
Of course, that eventually changed, and John and I became such good friends that now, almost a full nine years after he moved to Colorado, we can still meet up and it feels like no time has passed. We are thick as thieves again. Only now we don't run around pretending we're knights or pirates. We are more sophisticated than that. We drink craft beer and play video games.
He and I had a really good conversation one afternoon. It was essentially an in-depth catch up session, but it was very fruitful. One main thing that I talked about was how difficult I find it to connect with people at church. In fact, I haven't had a close friend of my own age at church since John moved in '08.
There are many reasons why I have a hard time connecting to people at church. I can find it really hard to relate to people. I often find groups of people to be overwhelming. My dad is the pastor of my church, which brings its own set of larger issues and can make relationships more difficult. These are all legitimate reasons for struggling to connect at times, but they are not legitimate reasons for struggling to connect all the time. It is very easy for me to start using these things as an excuse not to connect when I simply don't want to.
Cue the conviction.
As I talked to John about this, he very wisely pointed out that part of my problem is that I am waiting for others to take initiative.
That got my gears turning. As we continued talking, and as I've continued thinking since then I realized that he was absolutely right. I do tend to want others to take initiative and invest in me, and show interest in my life. That is a fine desire, but the trouble is, I often don't want to do the same for others.
John also told me that, although he initially found me annoying, he appreciated that I pursued the friendship. He said that if I hadn't taken initiative, we probably would never have become friends.
Speaking of initiative, a while back a guy from my discipleship group and I had talked about getting breakfast sometime, but we both got busy and it didn't happen. When he initially suggested it I felt so good that he took initiative and suggested meeting. In light of my conversation with John, I decided to text him and ask if he wanted to actually try and get breakfast some time. He was so appreciative that I in turn took initiative to try to make breakfast happen.
I love the church. It is a vastly important place. It is a gift from God to us. I especially love Sovereign Grace Church. I’ve been here 17 years. This place is my home. We have some of the best (if not the best) gospel-centered teaching out there. Our pastors, deacons, and team leaders are joyful, humble, and loving servants. We are extremely blessed to be in this church. We need to not sit idly waiting for people to pursue godly relationships with us. We need to invest in this church, in the people, so that we may grow together in one spirit.
The point is, I know I'm not the only one who deals with this. Connecting with people can be really difficult a lot of the time. The church is important, and we shouldn't stop trying to connect with each other. And we certainly shouldn't wait around for others to try to connect with us. Sitting around waiting and complaining is not how Christians live life together. It is not God-glorifying, and it is not Christ-like. God doesn't just invest in us when it's easy. He takes initiative with rebellious sinners. He calls people who hated him into relationship with him. I think I can get past my insecurities and invest in the people in my church even when it's awkward.
I’ve found that I’m often looking for the wrong thing. Or, at least, looking in the wrong places with the wrong perspective. That perspective needs to change. It is on each of us as individuals to be pursuing those around us. We need to stop waiting around for others to invest in us, and instead start building the church by investing in those around us. And once we start investing in others, they’ll invest back. The church will be built, we will get sanctified, and the gospel will go forth with power. Someone simply has to start investing.
Thaxton Gamache lives in Minneapolis and has been a member at Sovereign Grace Church for 17 years. He works in Operations Support and writes on the side. He loves serving in Sovereign Grace Church and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
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