The most popular box checked on any Facebook invitation. The fact that maybe even exists on the page is probably a nod to our Millennial generation. We aren’t quite a hard “no” or “yes,” just somewhere in the middle between the next best offer. Unfortunately, this non-committal attitude harms our ability to create authentic community.
I’m not sure where it all started, but I have experienced the anxiousness that comes when committing to something. I start with great enthusiasm, but the enthusiasm turns into fear. The fear of missing out on something else, fear of a new environment, and fear of giving away too much of MY precious time (which usually consists of watching Gilmore Girls in my pajamas).
We quickly give up on a community because it gets hard. When people start to rely on us as contributors to the group, we choose to passively participate—not wanting to fully give ourselves over to the needs of the community. This is why many Millennials experience a sense of loneliness. We have checked “maybe” too many time and have isolated ourselves from the rich community God desires for us to have.
Now, Jesus, on the other hand, had really rich relationships during his lifetime. Why?
1.He met his friends where they were.
Jesus probably felt most comfortable in the synagogue (unless he was turning over tables, which probably led to some dirty looks). He could have easily asked his disciples to meet when it was convenient for his schedule. You know, in between the healings and having dinner with social outcasts. Yet, he doesn’t. He goes to them. He goes to where they fish, where they work, where they eat, and where they are doing daily life. Why? Because Jesus valued building friendships over what was convenient for him.
2. He was faithful to his community even when it was hard.
Jesus had a lot of reasons to ‘peace out’ on his band of unfaithful brothers. The disciples asked annoying questions, often misunderstood His teachings, and even fell asleep when he needed them most. Yet, he still remained committed to pursuing real relationships with them. They may not have been the ideal first choice for a group of friends, but a community wasn’t about everyone being the same, it was about a group of people willing to commit to life with Jesus.
Christ asked his disciples to be in community with him, but he didn’t give them the option to select “maybe.” Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24 NLT). Bailey’s Translation: If you want to roll with me, you need to give up your comforts and your self-serving ways and lay down your life—even if that leads to death, death on a cross.
Our communities are thirsty for commitment because everyone wants a group of people to call their own. Instead, we spin our wheels searching for the perfect community when it doesn’t exist. We just need one person to stand up and say, “I’m going to show up.” That catalyst for committed communities can be you!
Where do you see yourself making excuses to the community events you are invited to? Have an honest conversation with yourself and Jesus, and ask him where he wants you to commit this season. No more, “maybes.” Only “yes’s” to the group of friends Jesus calls us to.