Monday, October 29, 2012

30 Days of Authenticity-Day 21: The Village

"It takes a village to raise a child." ~African Proverb

It takes a village, huh? I suppose that has been true for ages in many societies and cultures, but I think it's always true in your life as a child of God. For some, that village consists of grandparents and church elders who always shared the wisdom they gained through the years. For some, that village consists of precious Sunday School teachers or youth workers who faithfully gave of themselves.  Some are even lucky enough to have friends, parents and siblings in their village.

Your village is simply the group of people who helped you find your way in your walk with God.  Your village is made up of the people who helped you find your identity in Christ. They are the ones you immediately think of when you hear the terms mentors, teachers, encouragers, and prayer warriors. They are people who were completely authentic and made a difference in your life by sharing theirs.

My Bible has a section for listing your spiritual  mothers. That's a good way to think of your village-your spiritual mothers and fathers. After all, they collectively raised you to be who you are today.  I think of several people who shaped me into who I am today. I thank God for my village and the sacrifices that were made on my behalf. Who is in your village?   The Village shows up a good bit in The Word too.  Let's take a look:

"One generation commends your works to another;
they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
They tell of the power of your awesome works—
and I will proclaim your great deeds." ~Psalm 145:4-6
"And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others." ~2 Timothy 2:2
"Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.  Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness." ~Titus 2:2-7
"Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it." ~Proverbs 22:6
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." ~Deuteronomy 6:5-9

The thing about the village concept is that it parallels the intentional relationships posts in a very complementary way. Each of these passages show just how important a village is.  There's a lot of responsibility within the walls of a village.  You see, villages aren't here to solely benefit you. They're not only here to teach you, reach you, and raise you up. You are here to be a part of another village; you are here to mentor too. How wonderful to know that we can still pour into others while we continue to grow and mature in our faith journey.

Remember that today. Remember those who poured into you and made you who you are today. Remember those who encouraged you to keep going when it all seemed unbearable. Think of those who do those things for you now.  Thank God for them and take time to let them know the impact they've had in your life.

Also take time to consider your responsibility to do the same for others. Are you in someone's village? You're probably in several villages. Thank God for the opportunity He has given you to have that kind of influence.  Be intentional with this privilege to pour into someone else; what an honor to be a part of someone's village, someone's faith journey! Be careful, be authentic, and accept this challenge to make a difference in the lives of others.

"True success comes only when every generation continues to develop the next. ~John C. Maxwell

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