I can’t get my socks on! At least, not at the time of writing this. My recent calamitous fall, slaloming down the stairs at an exhilarating rate, is teaching me much about my dependency on others and, in particular, on Pippa, who merits your prayers much more than I! In truth of course the Bible teaches us much on how we are created to be interdependent and the value of putting ourselves in a place of dependency - not just on God but on other people and especially allowing others to meet our needs.
This culture of dependency even extends to those we are trying to reach with the Gospel. It is evident in the sending of the disciples who are sent out without money, extra clothes or sufficient provision for the journey. They were forced from the start to be dependent on the people they were sent to for practical support. Even Jesus chose to make Himself dependent on others for food, water, lodging, warmth and income.
There’s a liberating point here not just for mission but the way we do life. So often we feel that the emphasis is on us having all the answers, meeting every need and providing for all that is required. By asking others to do this for us we build relationship, become the vulnerable ones, empower others and include other people more purposefully into the mission of God.
I’ve also been reminded about how so often the Kingdom of God is released through the small, often practical, natural, normal things of life. Jesus needed Peter’s boat to teach from; He needed the boy with the 2 fish and 5 loaves in order to feed the 5,000, He needed the woman at the well to give Him a drink, he needed the donkey to be untied before He could ride into Jerusalem. When the daughter of Jairus is raised from the dead her parents are instructed to give her something to eat. We can so easily underestimate the gift of practical helps which Paul rates highly enough by putting it alongside apostleship, teaching, prophesying and healing in his teaching on spiritual gifts.
Having my socks put on might seem a very small, insignificant act but if it enables me to be released into the activity of the day and fulfil the purposes of God in my life then it plays an enormous part in the coming of God’s kingdom through me. So here’s a couple of applications to think about.
The first is around us choosing to be interdependent, especially if we are fiercely independent and self-sufficient. What do you need someone else to do for you today? In what way do you need to have your socks put on? What is the one thing that would make all the difference that you can’t do for yourself? Do you need to humble yourself, make yourself vulnerable, own a need? Don’t wait until you fall down the stairs – it’s not to be recommended!
Second, who is waiting for you to put their socks on for them? Maybe quite literally. More likely some other practical act that would play an enormous part in the coming of God’s kingdom to or through them. So, as we slalom through 2019, let’s go looking for ways in which we can help and support one another through the unseen, small, seemingly insignificant acts of kindness, loving one another not just with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:18).
With love and prayers,
Stephen and Pippa