Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I have just begun reading through Dietrich Bonhhoeffer's short book Life Together.  After the Introduction and Chapter One, I find myself already convicted, challenged, encouraged, and looking forward to the next opportunity to sit down with this small volume.

When you consider the body of believers in which God has placed you - your local church, your Christian co-workers, your Christian relatives, etc. - do you more often than not find yourself frustrated and disappointed?  If these people are really Christians, then why are they so weak and petty?  Why aren't they more engaged/faithful/service-oriented/(whatever)?  Why don't they pray more, study more, give more, sing more....? Maybe you're thinking that if you could find a  more "perfect" body, things would be different, somehow better.

But how truly thankful are you for the mixed-bag of Christian people that God has placed you among?

Writing on the subject of Christian community and fellowship, Bonhoeffer writes in Chapter One:  Community:

"In the Christian community thankfulness is just what it is anywhere else in the Christian life.  Only he who gives thanks for little things receives the big things....We think we dare not be satisfied with the small measure of spiritual knowledge, experience, and love that has been given to us, and that we must constantly be looking forward eagerly for the highest good.  Then we deplore the fact that we lack the deep certainty, the strong faith, and the rich experience that God has given to others, and we consider this lament to be pious.  We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.  How can God entrust great things to one who will not thankfully receive from Him the little things?  If we do not give thanks daily for the Christian fellowship in which we have been placed, even where there is no great experience, no discoverable riches, but much weakness, small faith, and difficulty; if on the contrary, we only keep complaining to God that everything is so paltry and petty, so far from what we expected, then we hinder God from letting our fellowship grow according to the measure and riches which are there for us all in Jesus Christ."

I don't know about you, but that makes me want to know, enjoy, and delight in my sisters and brothers in Christ more, and to thank God for this very interesting family into which He has adopted me!


troal said...

Wow! I have been thinking along similar lines. Thanks for this post.

Suzanne said...

This makes me think of all the times Mom made us write thank you notes for gifts. Even gifts that we had a hard time appreciating required our best response of gratitude. Thinking now about how I am delighted when I receive a Thank You card, I can see her point. Every Thank You I receive inspires me to want to give more and better gifts to such a gracious receiver. I hope God feels the same way whenever I express gratitude!