Is this a buzz phrase? Or is the need for community real?
I am reading a book called Canoeing the Mountains. The author Bolsinger makes reference to churches whom write their mission statement but do not follow it. They may have banners hanging in the sanctuary with each mission point: Make Disciples, Share the Gospel, Overseas Missions. These three points may be on their website and any pamphlets. Yet, when one takes a closer look, the church does not follow its mission. No new families in the last 5 years means little to no disciple making. They have generous tithers who support the overseas missions but do nothing locally to share the Gospel.
So in this extended pandemic era we are currently in, do we have a greater need for community … or has the greater need been present long before March 2020?
What has happened to community?
When I read Paul’s greetings to his brothers and sisters, my heart swells with belonging. Yes, I imagine he is talking to me:
“First of all I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of His Son, is my witness how I constantly remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you” (Romans 1:8-10).
Many of you whom I met through blogging and/or social media are in my prayers. God knows the true desire I have to meet some of you, or see some of you again. I confess this desire is largely selfish, that I could see you, hug you, share my life as I listen to yours, walk and pray together. However, community is not woven with selfishness. Christ, our cornerstone, laid His life down so that we could have an open invitation to the family of God. Once we become a child of God, our life is His. We must lay it down for others as He did for us.
The beauty of our God-given intricacies is that we can learn, repent and change our direction to be in His will not our own.Tweet
Look at Paul’s purpose in meeting with those he prayed to be with:
“I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong-that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles” (Romans 1:11-13).
First on Paul’s mind is their salvation.
Isn’t that what is on Christ’s mind?
If God grants us (you and me) time, let us pray we can lift each other up, be His voice and body to strengthen each other.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).
But today, this given day, what shall we do? Families, friends, the family of God are separated in more ways than one.
Where do we stand, brothers and sisters, with community?
Do we settle for social media likes and comments? Does social media take the place of personal phone calls?
Do we watch online church and then “forget” to reach out to brothers and sisters throughout the week?
Do we tell ourselves we are too busy for friendship?
Do we share the gospel often, sometimes, or not at all?
Community can mean many things in our world today. Some may say it’s needed in their lives or in the lives of others but do nothing about it, like the church mentioned initially with the “poster” mission that was not put into practice.
What does community mean to you? Do you feel a part of the family of God?
Let us lay our excuses at the feet of Jesus.
As we kneel there, let us seek His compassionate eyes and say with confidence, “Use me, Lord, to build Your family. Help me see, Lord, community the way You do. You stop what You are doing and pay attention to people. You showed us in Your ministry every heart matters, that ALL who come to You have the right to become children of God.”
“So now you are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. Together we are His house, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus Himself. We are carefully joined together in Him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord” (Ephesians 2:19-21).
We are in this given life together. Let us remember the holy privilege we have to love one another as the living, breathing, powerful body of Christ … that He has given us everything we need to be in community.Tweet
Happy Valentine’s Day, where ever you are.
I pray His love surrounds you today. I pray He leads you to bless someone else.
Community is not easy, but it is a gift. I welcome your thoughts here on the blog or you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All photos in this post are from Pixabay.com.
In His love and for His glory,