Some final thoughts on the chapter “Velcroed for Growth” from the book Contrarians Guide to Knowing God: Spirituality for the Rest of Us by Larry Osborne…
Osborne wraps up this chapter writing,
It’s imperative that we somehow find a place where our reality speaks louder than our image, where the upside of positive peer pressure spurs us on to greater heights, and where we’re positioned to receive the help we need the moment we need it. (p. 69)
It is in small groups that we have the best opportunity to develop and cultivate the close and transparent relationships necessary for this to happen. It’s not something that happens overnight; in fact, it may take a long time. But we are talking about eternity, are we not?
Speaking from the perspective of a man, I find these types of relationships very difficult to find. Friends like those that Osborne describes are the ones you can pick up the phone and call anytime. They are the friends you can talk to about anything; no matter how difficult the subject.
I remember a day when I was sitting with my wife talking (probably over a fine cigar and a cup of coffee) and I confessed to her that I don’t have many friends. I had even fewer that I would consider close. People who know me would find this hard to believe with my charming and winning personality; but Beth knows me well enough to know this was absolutely the case.
As we continued talking, I recalled the many friends I had in the Army. Unfortunately, relationships in the military are short-lived. Just as you get close to someone, one of you rotates to a new assignment. Even so, these relationships were strong because we depended on each other in order to accomplish our mission. Even after ten years, I still long for the camaraderie of the Army.
…On a side note, I was recently contacted by one of my army buddies. He called me out of the blue after more than 15 years. He now lives in another part of the country. It was great to hear from him, and we continue to talk every now and again. Anyway, back to what I was saying. What was I saying? Oh yeah, I don’t have many friends…
A few years ago I had a few friends like the type of relationship we are discussing; but, as you may have read in a previous blog, I lost contact with most of them. I am currently working to reestablish connection with them.
My point is it takes time to develop the kind of relationships we need to grow spiritually. With all of the commitments we have, we simply don’t have the time. Or is it that we don’t prioritize our time in order to make time? That’s what I think it is. We only have so many hours a day and we have lots to do. We have to make choices.
Drawing from my time in the army, perhaps we need to look at our spiritual growth as a mission. Do I dare say, “A mission from God”? We need the camaraderie of other Christians in order to accomplish the mission He has given us. Perhaps if we depended on each other as I used to depend on my teammates in the army, we would develop the life depending relationships we need.
I shared this with my wife, and she brought up a good thought. We talk a lot about missions overseas, and other things of that magnitude, but we don’t talk much about our mission right here in our homes and neighborhood. We have a mission to raise our families in a Godly manner. We have a mission to love our neighbors as we do ourselves. We have a mission to continue to grow spiritually. Small groups are the best way to accomplish these missions. Perhaps we need to be a bit more diligent in accomplishing the mission close to home.
And those are my words… Or in this case, those are our words…