Sunday, January 17, 2016

An Open City - Devotion on Genesis 11

Scripture: Genesis 11:1-4
Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

In Genesis 11, the people living on the plain of Shinar built their city as a way to defend themselves against being scattered by future enemies. But what if instead of defending against possible enemies, they had built their city to welcome potential enemies?

What if they had invited everyone in instead of trying to keep people out? What if instead of wanting to be known for their tower, they had set their sights on being known as a safe haven and a welcoming home to anyone who needed it?

What if instead of building a tower that reached to the heavens, they focused on being a community that pointed to Heaven?

What if we tried to be more welcoming in our own lives? What if we let down our emotional defenses, stopped showing off with false pride and bravado, and just let people in? What if we focused on having real relationships with co-workers, strangers, and even our enemies? What if we opened ourselves, completely, to anyone?

Like the people of Shinar, we might be attacked, we might be hurt, and we might be taken advantage of if we let ourselves be that vulnerable.

But we also might gather people to ourselves in genuine comradery like never before. That degree of vulnerability is what Jesus used to gather His community. He opened Himself - was hurt - and was triumphant. From the start, Jesus knew that any pain He suffered, including emotional pain, was worth it for the sake of inviting others to Himself.

Will you invite others to yourself? Will you let them see the open, defenseless you so that perhaps they can be open and defenseless with you? Will you be a tower of emotional vulnerability pointing to Heaven?

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