Look for the SpaceChurch
Genesis 26:19-22 “Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. But the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen and said, “The water is ours!” So he named the well Esek, because they disputed with him. Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah. He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth, saying, “Now the Lord has given us room and we will flourish in the land.”
I was reading this scripture a few times over before I felt God help my apply to an aspect of our lives. I relate it to our place within the Kingdom of God, specifically the local church. Isaac’s issue was an issue of space, there was no room for all his people and native people of the land and so it caused contention and hostility between them all until he found space.
I believe we experience this a lot within church life, and it can easily cripple the effectiveness of the church as I will explain:
The first well that Isaac opened was called ‘Esek‘, because the people of the land disputed with him. In the greek this word means ‘contention’ or ‘strife’. As in church life, there are only so many opportunities to lead, be on stage, preach, teach, host etc, and the truth is people do contend for these opportunities. This is not always a bad thing, as people do genuinely want to use the gifts God has given them. People contend with one another and strive for these positions, relationships and opportunities, whether from good motives or bad.
This often ‘healthy competition’ becomes worse as it moves into the second stage however. The second well that Isaac opened was called ‘Sitnah‘ because the people ‘quarrelled’ with him about it. In the greek this means ‘hostility’ and comes from the same word as ‘satan’. Over time contention and strife turn into hostility toward one another, as people begin to put others down and raising themselves up in the process. This however is where Satan starts to use this for his purpose by causing disunity in the church.
The third well that Isaac opened was called ‘Rehoboth‘ because he had found room amongst the people. The fact is, there is plenty of space within the Kingdom of God, and there is room for everyone to flourish. I am not saying that people desiring opportunities is bad, because often that is the best way God develops someone’s character and gifting. I am someone who is blessed to receive opportunities from time to time and I am very grateful for them. However I must always be aware of others and be willing to let others go before me.
The key to allowing everyone to flourish is looking for the space!
Do the things that no-one else does
Spread out and look for where no-one is active
Be willing to look for space and fill the gap