I once heard it said that “sisters are the perfect best friend”.
And as the oldest of 3 sisters, my heart cried: Yes! to this sentiment.
My sisters and I are loyal, long-suffering. We are unconditional in our love. And we are unbreakable in a bond held together by genetics and history.
Anyone with a sister understands the near- mysterious bond of two women joined by the parents – and in many ways, the same life.
It is moving and it is beautiful.
In a similar manner, as Christian women, we are called into a Family of another kind. One that dates back to the beginning of time and will persevere to its End.
Regardless of our families of origin, in God’s great Family we inherit countless new relationships. And included in this collaboration, are dozens of sisters.
Sisters in the Lord- What Does that Mean?
As North Americans, we are highly autonomous people, aren’t we? We raised the flag of freedom back in 1864, and we have been fighting to remain independent of authority ever since.
But is this fierce independence a help to our relationships as women in our churches?
Galatians 6:7-10 advises us that God desires our accountability to one another: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers”. In other words, God wants the first-fruits of our kindness and compassion and time to be given to those within His Body, the Church.
Our sisters should come at the front of the line-up of our priorities, and not in the back.
Hard to wrap our minds around, right?
Why might it matter to God, that believing women “do good” to one another, ahead of all other loyalties?
Well, the single greatest reason is this: Church is the place where God’s power and glory are most on display. It is in the healthy functioning of the Church, and the love of its people toward one another, that God Himself is made to look beautiful!
And we, as hard-working hands and feet, are necessary components to creating that beauty.
Doing Good – But I am Tired!
School, sports, doctor’s appointments, a house to clean. We are busy people, not looking for any more ways in which to be tired.
Doesn’t doing good look like just more work? Well, yes. Which is why Paul encourages the Galatian church: “Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up”.
Doing good will be work, and will inevitably make us weary.
But the confidence of a harvest is our focus, not the labor of our sowing.
Doing Good – What Does it Look Like Practically?
The “going good” that Galatians references, will have varying faces.
Doing good might look like picking up an extra nursery shift, so an over-extended Mom can take a week off. Or Baby-sitting children not your own, so a friend is freed up for an hour. Doing good might look like encouragement when a marriage is facing difficulty. Or it might appear as a note in the mail or a mid-day phone to call that friend who has been on your heart all week.
Doing good might mean serving when there are no other hands to serve, and the Church is tired.
And in our tithe of “doing good”, rather than being emptied, we are filled.
Rather than remaining independent, we instead become inter-dependent.
And the vulnerability of needing that frightens, gives way to the most precious love – because we see that we can need, we can rely. And out of that willingness and love, emerges something breath-taking: The visible Church.
So for those of us struggling with commitment to our friends at church, let’s continue on and not give up.
It is hard work to give and to love. But, let’s do it. Let’s give of ourselves and place one another in high priority.
Let’s make Him look beautiful by our love.