What is the Value of Community?
Community…it’s hard, messy, yet so, so good and highly valuable. Seth shares his experience with lack of community and how God has used community to grow him in Christ-likeness. Let’s lean in to this throw-back devo one more time and enjoy the timeless truths.
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. – Ephesians 4:15-16
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.” – Mark 10:29
My wife and I were married for only a week when we loaded up our wedding presents and moved half-way across the country to take a job in a small town where we did not know a soul. It didn’t take long for the newness of marriage to wear off, and we felt the glaring absence of community. It was something we knew we liked and even needed, but we didn’t know how much until it was stripped from us. Many tears were shed, prayers prayed and time passed before we began to see healthy community grow around us. We were able to better learn why community is so important and how to “grow it” in a desert.
- We grow closer to each other. The first churches were made up of several different societal classes who prior to believing in Jesus had little in common. But with Jesus they had a shared Spirit as well as a shared goal to be the body of Christ. (see the groups in Ephesians 5:22-6:9) We are similarly diverse and through community God grows us together.
- We grow closer to God. It is in community we grow in love for God and each other. The mystery (Eph 3:6) of the gospel is that those who believe in Jesus are connected to each other as a body with Jesus as the head. That means our growth and spiritual health are far more connected to those with whom we are in community than we tend to think.
- God gives community, are we seeing it? Jesus promised that as we walk with Him he will provide for us. Toward the end of my wife and my lonely time we made one motto: If we want best friends, we need to treat people like best friends, whether they know it or not. (I still remember the day we said that about our new acquaintances).
God designed us for community because in His sovereignty we will grow the most in community, and He has taken it upon Himself to provide that community when we are walking with Him.
Community is so important to God. It’s a huge way He grows us and uses us in this world. What community do you see yourself in? What about your family? How is your community growing your relationship with God?