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Busy Beavers

29August2012

Native Americans called the beaver the ‘sacred center’ of the land.  This is because of the role they play in creating natural habitats that allow so many species to flourish.  The beaver sets out to create a home for itself and its family.  It creates this home by damning up a stream in a shallow valley, thereby flooding the area and creating a wetland environment.  These wetlands are the closest rival to tropical rain forests for its biodiversity.  In fact, almost half of endangered and threatened species in North America rely upon these wetlands that are, at least in part, created by beavers.  For more information see: http://www.beaversww.org/beavers-and-wetlands/about-beavers/

All the beaver does is set out to take care of its own.  Yet, by doing so, it produces an environment that allows and enables life to thrive all around.

Are you taking care of your own?

Biology tells us that you are only as healthy as your cells.  My coach always told me that our team was only as strong as our weakest link.  As congregations, our health is determined by the health of our families.  Defining ‘family’ is certainly a moving target in today’s culture, and that is okay.  But, no matter how you define family (traditional, blended, single parent, single, widowed, empty nesters, multi-generational…)—our congregations exist as a gathering of families.  Are the families in our congregations healthy?  Are they a place where discipleship and faith are thriving?  Are they a center for Bible study and prayer?  We wouldn’t tolerate a congregation that doesn’t pray together—why do we tolerate families that don’t?

The beaver provides the image.  Take care of your family and, over time, an entire environment beyond itself that is teeming with life will appear.  Many have argued that the congregation is on the front lines where the Gospel hits the streets, where Christ is incarnated for the sake of mission and ministry, and where His grace comes in water poured and through a simple meal.  How true this is!  My hope is that the home can be a further place where these attributes are manifested.  Not the sacraments, mind you—but certainly the work of the people spills over into the home.  And the works of home spill over into the congregation.  As the proverb says, “Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.” Proverbs 22:6.  If we think instilling faith is the task of the congregation we are sorely mistaken.  We are to be busy like beavers creating homes where faith is formed!

The beaver image continues with Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, the beloved characters of C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.  If you recall, it was the Beavers who were the ones to share with the children the hope of Aslan.  It was the Beavers who welcomed the children into their home and spoke of hope, of spring, and a prophecy of those who would bring freedom from the reign of the witch.

What would it do for your zip code if you reclaimed the ‘sacred center’ of family and invested time and energy into making it thrive for the sake of Jesus?

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