Find your tribe | Lifestyles
If I use the term “tribe”, what is the first thought you have? For many of us here in the United States, the first thought would be Native American or Indian. You can then think of a particular tribe, especially if that tribe is part of your lineage. The Cherokee Indians and a little further south the Seminole Indians are two tribes that were probably among the first inhabitants of this region. I have white friends and black friends who have Cherokee blood in their family line.
If you are of Jewish descent, your first thought might have been the 12 tribes of Israel. Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, had 12 sons. When he met God and God changed his name to Israel, these 12 sons started family lines that have been mentioned ever since, even in the New Testament. For example, Jesus was from the tribe of Judah and Paul from the tribe of Benjamin.
When I hear the word “tribe” used in a relational way, which I have used for several years, it usually refers to a group of people with similar values and interests. Google has several interesting definitions and thoughts. A tribe is a social group made up primarily of many families, clans or generations with common ancestry and language. In addition, the Romans were called tribes due to their political divisions (three original tribes of ancient Rome).
Another interesting use of the word can be with an Internet tribe or digital tribe – unofficial online communities or organizations of people with a common interest. They are more loosely affiliated with each other (according to this resource).
This term has more recently taken on a broader meaning. There is a book on Amazon called “Tribe – on Homecoming and Belonging”. I haven’t read it but the title leads me to find out if the author was thinking along the same lines as I was recently. One quote includes the thought that “human beings need three basic things to be satisfied: they need to feel competent at what they do, they need to feel authentic in their life; and they need to feel connected to each other. Number three is sort of where my thoughts have been.
In fact, I meet a small group of business owners (mostly in their forties, with a younger couple and an older person plus me!) To have a close relationship with the Lord. We go to different churches, but we have been drawn to each other because of our love for Thomasville. We meet several hours a week to pray for our city and dream about how we could make a difference.
I have been using the word “community” for the two weeks leading up to this week, but believe the word “tribe” in the context I just used, basically conveys the same meaning. Do you have a group of people outside of your natural family and maybe even outside of your church family or who are even more connected than your own business community (whether you are an employee or an employer)? I know we all live in some form of community, but the ones that satisfy me the most are where we are connected at a level of heart that might even be stronger than your natural family or even your church family.
For many of you, this need is met in your church. For a few of you, that need is met by those you spend 40 hours a week with at work. I love the relationship I have at each of these levels. Family, church, and business all play a role in my life to help me fulfill the destiny the Lord has planned for me.
I can usually tell pretty quickly if someone I meet is from the same “tribe”! There is a heart connection which is at the level of an alliance. Let me give you an example from the Scriptures. Jonathan and David had a deeper relationship than most friendships. They belonged to two different tribes: David of Judah, Jonathan and his father Saul of the tribe of Benjamin. But the Lord united their hearts to form a literal covenant which the two of them knew was much stronger than their family / tribe.
Jonathan was heir apparent to his father Saul, but the two young men knew that David was destined to be the next king of Israel. This had been prophesied by the prophet Samuel when David was a young boy who looked after his father’s sheep. The prophet bypassed the other sons of Jesse because they were not God’s choice. God knew David’s heart. He also knew that it would take David many years to be ready to take on this responsibility.
His greatest adversary and the one God used to form his character was Jonathan’s father, Saul. Jonathan had to keep this relationship with some discretion because of Saul’s jealousy and murderous rage towards David. When Saul and Jonathan were killed in action and David did indeed become king, most of the household members of Saul and Jonathan were murdered (this was a common practice to prevent one of them from arguing over the throne).
Years later, David wanted to bless Jonathan’s house and inquired about the remaining relatives. Jonathan had a young son when David came to the throne. His nurse let him down as they escaped, leaving him crippled for the rest of his life. David brought him into the palace and treated him like his own son, providing for all his needs and restoring his family inheritance.
It is the “tribe”. It is a covenant relationship that is stronger than most of the other relationships we have. Of course, the marriage covenant and our blood covenant through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus are the strongest of these covenants, but I believe the Lord wants to expand our relationships to include those who can stand by our side through all the adversities that life brings.
People who have love for each other and a sense of community can influence and affect the larger community in which we live. If you haven’t found your tribe, ask the Lord to help you identify those who fit that place in your life. I can testify that I have it and it helps me to “make life better”!