“Relational communities cannot be “organized”, they cannot be bought with money. They cannot be created by gifting. They come out of death to self, out of humility to serve and wait upon people.” – Stephen W Hill
Filipino’s have communities. When I ask Rad Zdero about a chapter in his book about community his answer was “you don’t need to understand Molong as you already have it.” If he means ‘Filipino’ community based on our culture he is partly right. To understand more, an American couple came and as while we sat outside my house having coffee two person from my neighborhood came, one handed a cake and one a jackfruit from his garden. I am grateful saying thanks and they left with a smile. The wife says “this is what I like about here, there is community!”
“So you see this as community? When those people aren’t a part of us?” That’s when I understood how western people thinks of the word ‘community.’ Very far from what we are trying to do.
Last night as we are preparing plants to be delivered to 3 companies this week Ruelh, Albert and I had a discussion. “Our community here is different than the community that is outside of us.” Ruelh said.
“You see the difference?” I ask more for his own observations.
“Yes” he said. “Because we may live next door to each other like everyone else in their communities but we loved and cared for each other. We treat our younger men and women as brothers and sisters…”
Exactly what Paul says to Timothy, “do not rebuke an older person but treat him as your father. Your older men as your mother, your younger men as your brother and younger women as your sisters. 1Tim.5:1-6
And how Jesus defines His Church is family, “he who left fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters,…shall have hundreds of them.”
The big difference between a Filipino community and a Kingdom-like community is what we call The Culture of the Kingdom. It is the 58-one anothering in the Bible. It is those commands of how we should behave towards one another. It is not a Filipino-culture or American-culture or African-culture. Far from it.
It is a life that’s full of denying to self to look at someone else’s needs meet. A life that is being laid down to one another. That is the very reason why the early church positioned themselves to live ‘from house to house’ to ‘obey all that Jesus commanded’ as a body, not individual obedience but corporate obedience. When one of them says ‘let’s do it’ they don’t suggest their own opinions because they want to get the job done quick.
We know that the world is full of people who likes to tell us what to do, when to do it, how you should do it, you should have done it this way or that way, what you lack is this and that, blah blah blah,…and if you didn’t obey them it’s your fault! This only prompt us to hear God and obey Him.
I was reading an fb post on quote about leadership and it says that ‘the leader should leave to leave space for other leaders to grow.’ “Yeah, sounds right.” I said to myself. And other quotes again on the same subject, ‘Train leaders and send them out.’ That makes me confuse really. As I ponder, I heard God say to me “Obey Me Molong, they don’t do that.”
Exactly. My point is, before you obey what other people are telling you what you should do, look at their life first. I love how my friend Mike Peters would respond, “what can they show? These people are living their life in isolations, watching football games on TV just right after their Bible study meetings when they should be at their feet praying for those people who just attended the meeting.” He lives with other 300 believers who’s living next door to each other, sharing their life daily for over 35 years. “I got 300 people that can defend me” he said.
Living with other saints near you is not an easy-go-lucky life. Deciding to live ‘from house to house’ is not a principle to follow just because the Bible says so and that the early church did it. No. Living ‘from house to house’ is only a by-product of our life wanting to deny ourself. It’s a default system. The principle is: follow my way of life. We so love to follow the early church doctrine of leadership and everything else without following how they live. No wonder we’re in a mess. We may want to serve but we appreciate if anyone could call us ‘leaders’ please?
Here is how they live and the real principle behind living ‘from house to house.’
“I want to love you more. I want to care for you more. I want to help you more grow. I want to deny myself to look up to your need more than mine. I want to see your children as mine, so please have a key in my house. Take over anytime you come. I want to help you how you should treat your wife and kids when I see you’re not treating them well. And yes, if you see me not treating my wife and kids well rebuke me and help me. I need your gift to help me care and love my family more. Be a priest to me.
“And because I want to do this all to you, I will transfer next door to you! Wow! That makes me easier to do all these to you! Why should I live my life in isolation when I want to love you and you want to love me? Who’s husband who wants to love his wife yet lives in someone else’s house? A kingdom-life community, what is their relationship look like? It’s like a relationship of a mother to her daughter. That’s how intimate it is.
Isn’t it how Jesus showed this to us too right from the start? “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” John 1:14. I think in the The Message translation by Eugene Peterson it says “The Divine clothed with human dirt and live in our neighborhood.”
Simply put, if you really love the people you serve, go live among them. Deny yourself. Lay down your life.