I know in my mind that accountability is important. I understand that someone following up with you and checking in regularly helps to keep focus. But an even better accountability is someone who is walking along with you through it. That takes a time, effort and a similar goal.
This has become even more evident to me recently. I am a runner. I really enjoy going for a morning run and even look forward to it most of the time. There are times when I don’t really want to get out of a warm bed and put on a bunch of layers of clothes to go running in the freezing cold. There are times when I am tired and another hour of sleep is more than appealing. But, I love to run. Eventually, I will make myself get moving and will be so thankful that I did. Accountability is good with running because it keeps me consistent. Would I still run without it? I would…but probably not with regularity.
That is NOT the case with strength training. There is not much I enjoy about strength training. I would choose most anything over it. I have avoided it as much as I possibly could. The problem with that is – strength training makes me a better, more fit runner. There has to be some irony in that. Right now, I have a stress fracture and I cannot run. Could that have been caused by not strength training? There is a really good possibility that my lack of strength training led to this problem. Now I can’t run…at least for several more weeks. You would think that not being able to run would motivate me to get with the training so this doesn’t happen again…but that’s incorrect. And, I need more than someone calling me and checking with me to make sure I did it…because I have no problem saying “NOPE, sure didn’t.” I need someone to push me and walk the path with me. I am thankful John took that on – we may want to all pray for him.
Why do I mention this? It reminds me of what we as Christians should be doing for one another. I don’t mean that we should be exercising together…although that’s never a bad idea. I do mean that we should be traveling this journey together. There are going to be parts of this journey I will really enjoy and there will be times when I am really struggling. If I have a Christian community that walks with me on this journey, we can celebrate together and we can help each other up when times are really tough. I think that we, as Christians, have lost so much of that. I think that we come together to worship a couple of times a week…we maybe enjoy a meal together occasionally – but that is where it ends. We don’t journey together…we more vacation together. If I understand the idea of Christian community, it is more than simply worship and an occasional meal. It looks like walking arm in arm together, celebrating together, striving together, doing life together, and working through our differences…together.
Church, for me, is like running. I will show up to church because I love it. I love to worship, praise and be with other Christians. It helps if I am out and someone checks in on me (if I wasn’t the pastor, it might keep me attending a little more regularly). But, in order to run well, I need strength training…we need to people to walk with us as we serve Christ, to join in on the efforts of more than Sunday mornings. What I’m trying to say is…Christian Community is so much more than simply once a week meeting. Maybe we should journey together rather than just vacation.