I have a small group that meets every Thursday morning. Last week we had just finished meeting and it made me think. It wasn't glamorous or dramatic – just a bunch of guys having breakfast before going off to our separate work lives – but it reminded me once again of why I believe in groups.
The assignment for last week was to read Psalm 100 once a day throughout the week, and to come prepared to share something from our life maps that we were thankful for.
I am always fascinated by the stories people, including me, will choose to share if we are given complete freedom and think we are in a safe place. You might think it would be something easy, or simple, or an event that would show us in our best light – something that makes it seem like we have our act together.
Not so much.
Men will choose to share something that was very difficult, or complicated, or tells of a time when we were vulnerable and struggling – when we were quietly, desperately searching for a way to navigate the particular world we found ourselves in – to play the hand we were dealt. In our cases, we were able to recount the ways Jesus, the good shepherd, had graciously stepped in to rescue us.
In the process of our interaction last Thursday morning, I noticed an interesting thing. We read Psalm 100 at the beginning of our meeting. And frankly, it didn't seem to mean that much. It felt cold, like words on a page. But, then we read it again at the end, after our stories, after we had laid seven lives on the table. Now the words came alive. We could see evidences of His goodness, and faithfulness, and loyal love. We could see that we were not autonomous, self-made men, but instead "the sheep of His pasture."
I could have started the day alone, but I'd rather start it with those guys. That's why I believe in the power of groups.