Be Careful What You Love

I read a quote today that sounded as though it may have been written only recently in a work by church growth and ministry leaders of our day.

The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Note the author of the quote:  Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor and theologian who served in the 1930s and 1940s in Nazi Germany.  He preached against the Nazi attrocities and was eventually hanged for his opposition to Hitler’s regime.  There are two things that stand out in this quote to me and which speak loudly to us in the 21st century.

  1. Community is crucial and is not a new concept in the church. We speak of our community groups and our emphasis on relational connections as though it were a new trend in Christianity.  It was obviously important 70 years ago.  Actually, it was important 2000 years ago.  The first century church operated in community in a more significant way than it has for the past 100 years.  Note Acts 2:42-47.
  2. When we love our vision more than we love people we destroy the very vision we have embraced. We are not called to love a vision…we are called to love people.  Jesus, quoting from the Old Testament, gave us the Great Commandment in Luke 10:27.

A martyr speaks to us from the grave and reminds us that what Jesus taught us is really important:  relationships rather than institutions and people rather than visions.

How are you connecting with people in community?  What are some ways that you are actively loving people?  What hinders you from experiencing these dynamics in your life?

4 Responses to “Be Careful What You Love”

  1. 1 Leslie R.
    March 23, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    a year and half ago we moved to the seattle area. the lord led us to a dwindling church. we were very excited to get to know and love these people, to work shoulder to shoulder with them, and to encourage them. a month before we started going to this church, the denomination brought in a new pastor, one who would “save the sinking ship”. the message from the pulpit was that he had all these tricks up his sleeve that he would use to save the church. nothing about faith, prayer, evangelism…nope…it was all about externals. we left when we were told the church would close for a year to save money and then have a “grand re-opening” with a new interior and new sign etc. and although we graciously explained to our elders our misgivings on all of this, and they were moved by what we said (where’s prayer? where’s faith? god brings the people. etc with many scripture verses used to support our beliefs), the pastor was not moved at all. his vision was the only way, and if you didn’t vote for it you should leave. we left. his vision was his idol. HE wanted to be the savior. so sad.

    • March 23, 2010 at 7:11 pm

      I’m sorry you experienced this collision of this apparent human vision & what may be God’s will. It is so easy for us, as driven leaders, to fall in love with our own vision at the expense of people. Thx for sharing.

  2. March 27, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    great post, Randy. Very true. When we love a vision or concept more, it will crush the people there to support it. But when we love the people more, they help carry the vision. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. March 27, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Thanks, Grant. I like the way you put it, “But when we love the people more, they help carry the vision.” Thanks for commenting.

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