Who Are Your Twelve?

Our preparation to move to North Carolina is progressing well — we sold our house here in Little Rock Tuesday to a buyer who requested a closing date that is the same day that we had requested on our new house.

We went to see it on a little vacation trip, and enjoyed a day-and-a-half in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains.

I applied and interviewed for a part-time position at the university.

We got acquainted with our new hometowns (Dillsboro, Sylva and Cullowhee) a little bit.

We met people new to us, and made friends over dinner and in prayer afterward last Sunday evening with  another family whom I feel sure will continue to grow closer and more treasured in our hearts.

Now the hard parts: Packing. Leaving. Realizing that it was probably our last family-of-four vacation for at least a long, long time. Helping our son move out of the house and into his apartment today. Saying goodbye to eight treasured friends in our LIFE Group at dinner last night.

As we dined together, I remembered a movie called Joshua where a farewell dinner was given by his friends for a person who has been called to an audience with the pope in Rome … a person who might be a lot more than just a visitor to their small town. Extraordinary things have happened among this group of friends and in their community as a result of the powerful love of this stranger. One of his friends, after the dinner, realizes aloud: “There were twelve of us.”

Last night I was made aware again of how our lives connect with so many others, changing them and being changed by them — but also of how profound those changes can be within a circle of close friends, no matter how different from each other we might be.

It made me wonder again what might happen if — like Christ — believers prayed fervently all night and then formed familial relationships with as few as twelve people … dedicated themselves to exploring His nature and personality together … lived it among themselves and others … prayed for one another from the heart … gave of self, sacrificially … loved deeply.

The movie I remembered starts thoughtfully and well, but I think it ends on a weak note. If I’d written its script, I would have had the character Joshua tell the pope:

“With all due respect, I didn’t come to see you or to satisfy your curiosity. I came to make a difference in the failing faith of twelve people I came to love … to help them experience what it means to believe even when confronted by things you can’t understand.”

My family will have that opportunity to help and be helped in that way when we move in three weeks.

We don’t know whom our twelve might be.

There might be more, or less, than twelve. Some might draw us closer with them to God through His Son than we could have imagined. Some might disappoint or wound us. They might choose us, initially. We might choose them.

But we will choose each other, and we will choose.

One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. ~ Luke 6:12-16

Who are your twelve?

5 thoughts on “Who Are Your Twelve?

  1. Keith, I am not paying attention I guess! I didn’t know you were moving… although I did know your house was for sale. I’m slow sometimes! Well, I know you’ll be missed … and another faith family will be blessed. Hard to leave your son behind as well. God bless you. I love the way you are relating this – instead of finding a new church – it’s finding a new set of disciples with whom to commune in life … this is the kind of thinking we all need to embrace. I appreciate you more and more. Look forward to hearing about your new digs and the good stuff that awaits you there from our Abba. Love ya!

  2. Brother, I love this bittersweet post. Glad you were able to have some precious time with your life group this weekend.

    I think this post is a fitting follow-up to one you wrote not too long ago, entitled “The Year I Didn’t Go To Church.” I’ve not commented on that one…but it’s still resonating with me. Perhaps because, like you, I could write a post with a similar title. And because, like you, mine would also be about a search for community. And because, like you, I’ve found that faith community at PV.

    As to your question of “Who are your twelve?”…I’m not completely sure…except that I can tell you that surely there are more than twelve of them. There are more than twelve people that I have crossed paths with who have helped to draw me closer with them to God through His Son…and I am blessed because of that. And I think it’s safe to say that you’re in that group somewhere. And if I don’t tell you anything else before you leave, know that.

    • Sis, I appreciate you more than you can know.

      I may have been rash to take the action I did with Jeff in the comments of “The Year I Didn’t Go To Church.” But, honestly, there was simply a stench of rotten fruit about his posts and there wasn’t any chance that I could change about that kind of spirit — hasn’t been for these several years he’s been commenting here.

      I’ll admit that some of my rashness comes from the disappointment that the self-appointed “Homewreckers for God” has not become extinct.

      Yet the greater part of it comes from the contrast between the spirit of saints who will lovingly support you while correcting you, and those who are simply out to accuse and convict and destroy.

      The folks in my LIFE Group would not hesitate for a moment to point me back in God’s direction in love when I had a mind to wander in my own way. That’s a world of difference from snooping, digging, accusing, judging (“I have my answer”) and insisting that a family like mine could not possibly please God; should be broken up in order to please God.

      That’s just man’s prideful false doctrine, and I don’t have to be a host to it.

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