We have so many things that compel us to praise God for his graciousness. He has given us life and breath and every good thing. One of the more underrated blessings that God has given us is the opportunity to live and work in community.
It isn’t hard to live—even to live alone—when it feels like all our needs are being met and life is filled with pleasure. When sorrow and trouble comes, however, things like wealth and power and prestige quickly fade into relative insignificance. Even celebrities get sick and die. Sports heroes get injured or are eventually replaced by younger stronger competitors. Those with brilliant minds will probably live to see a day when their sharpness has dulled and their memories betray them. Nearly every gift we receive has a shelf life. It will not last forever.
So we should thank God for community. In community we find strength that we don’t have on our own. We have access to gifts, talents, and wisdom that we don’t possess all by ourselves. There is the curious blessing of symbiotic relationships—those that develop a vibrancy and vitality that is greater than the sum of its individual parts. Surely this is a great gift from God. As with all gifts from God, He expects us to use it wisely.
There are many trials in our lives which could very well overcome us if we tried to stand alone against the wind and waves. But because of the relationships we find in community, we have additional support and strength to endure all our struggles. And yet so many of us live without experiencing the great heights of this gift. We think that there is danger in shared dependency. We’re afraid that something may be lost if we risk some kind of mutual accountability. In God’s reality, however, the blessings of sharing our lives and God’s mission with one another far outweigh the risks just as the beauty of the flower exceeds that of the seed.
Think about this. If you cultivated the most beautiful flower in the world and isolated it for fear of it becoming contaminated or diseased, that flower would eventually fade and die without ever achieving the potential it was given in creation—the ability to reproduce and multiply its beauty. If, however, you place that flower into the community for which it was designed, and allow it to be pollinated and fertilized, then you have empowered it to produce the seeds necessary to fulfill its God-given function. You have allowed the flower not only to grow but also to multiply.
Living, sharing, and cooperating in community performs the same beautiful miracle in our lives. It allows us to grow and multiply our effectiveness in God’s field—God’s Kingdom.
May God grow us all in His community,