I don't know whether my boss coined the term or whether he heard it from somewhere else. Regardless, I first heard the term "one anothering" from him. We were discussing Romans 12 during our Work Break in our staff devotions, before beginning the day, and my boss was exhorting us to be those who 'one another' each other.
Romans 12 is full of 'one another' statements. Statements like "love one another", "be devoted to one another" and "honour one another". Indeed there are heaps of "one another" statements scattered throughout the New Testament. I believe my boss told us how many...but I don't remember the figure. But there are enough of them that one must sit up and take notice.
What these "one another" statements say to me, apart from their direct instruction of how to behave, is that we are to take care of our fellow believers and to make that a high priority in our day-to-day life. In Romans 12, the instruction to care for fellow believers comes before instruction about interacting with those in society and the world at large. Don't you find that interesting? I do! As one who has grown up within the church, I have heard many a sermon and much focus on the evangelism of unbelievers, and indeed that is important. Our message is for the unbeliever as much as it is for the believer. But there is little spoken of, within the church, about caring for our fellow believers.
Our theme verse of this year's Women's Retreat is Romans 12:10, which says, "Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves." I wonder how devoted we are to those with whom we worship week by week within our church? I don't recall the Bible saying to be devoted to unbelievers in this same way. Devoted to the task, perhaps, but nothing about being devoted to the unbeliever. The Bible says that they will know us by our actions and how we love one another. How do we honour one another? Do I take as much care of those with whom I worship and those with whom I work as I do of myself? Am I prepared to shoulder the burden my brothers and sisters bear, when I am able to do it? Do they do that for me?
We live in such an individual-focused society these days. I think, as Christians, we struggle more and more with "one anothering". We claim busyness and stress and avoid caring for those we share our faith-life with. My challenge for me, and for you, is to be one who "one another" those you walk your faith with. Be passionate about your fellow church members ~ they are your family. Be passionate about those you work with, if you work in a Christian organisation ~ they are your family too.
Who are you going to "one another" this week?
"Be devoted to one another in love.
Honor one another above yourselves."