All the believers were together and had everything in common. -Acts 3:44
I remember very clearly, when one of my boys was little, the stage in which he wanted to "do it mineself!" It is both a challenging and wonderful thing as a parent, relative, or friend to see their children discover their own abilities and become more and more independent and self-sufficient.
This morning in our men's Bible study I was reminded of how much I like to be independent and self-sufficient. There have been times in my life when I would have rather spent a few hundred dollars I didn't really have to spare on a tool I would only use once, than admit my lack of self-sufficiency by calling a friend to ask about borrowing the same tool. Or the times when I've rejected assistance that I desperately needed because I didn't want to be an imposition. There may have even been a time or two that I didn't stop to ask for directions even though I was clearly and completely lost.
But independence and self-sufficiency are not hallmarks of mature Christianity. Rather, the biblical model is one of interdependency. The Christian community, from it's earliest days, was one in which people cared for and shared with each other - whether it be a financial burden, through supporting each other in emotionally difficult times, or around the communal meal. They actually developed a form of collective self-sufficiency - with the focus was on what we could do together not on what I could do on my own.
But for me to be open to that requires a humility that doesn't come easily. I'm fine if someone calls me to ask for help, but for me to ask for help . . . that's a challenge! It is not healthy to move to co-dependency and so I keep the pendulum pulled back in the other direction.
Jesus didn't do that. He sought the healthy middle. He fed the 5000 and received the hospitality of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. He sought solitude and he asked his disciples to pray with him when the weight was too much to bear on his own. He washed his disciples' feet and he allowed his feet to be washed in expensive perfume. He created the world and relied on Mary's milk to sustain his life.
This balance is a challenging one to find and perhaps even more challenging to maintain. But let us not run away from that which is hard. Together may we seek to follow Jesus' example of both serving and allowing ourselves to be served. And in so doing may the love God be put powerfully on display in a world that is all too often about "mineself"!