Every day we get up not knowing what the day will bring. However, life can turn on a dime, and you need a good support system when it does. Your community is what surrounds you in the good and bad times.
The Gift of the Community
Recently, I was reminded of the gift community gives to the soul. My husband was very sick, and I had to call an ambulance for him. Our community has a group called “NEAR,” which stands for Neighbors Emergency Assistance Response. The minute I called “911,” “NEAR” was activated, and fifteen people came to help us while we waited for the emergency response team. “NEAR” is our neighbors who live in our community and choose to help others carry the burden.
People offered to drive me to the hospital, sit with me while I waited to find out what was going on, and have checked in on me numerous times to see if I needed help with anything, from errands to grabbing groceries.
You and I
I look forward to being able to give back to my community. I don’t think it is a coincidence the letter “u” is in the middle of community. Because “You” are needed in community. But, you know what else is in the word community? The letter “I” shows us that you and I belong in a community. We aren’t made to be alone, and God recognized our need for community when He created the woman because He knew it was not good for man to be alone.
“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”Genesis 2:18
Jesus and the Tribe
Do you realize one of the first things Jesus did when he started his ministry was to call others into a community with Him? Jesus formed his tribe and called people from all walks of life because He knew He needed them now, and they would need each other after He was gone.
What We Learn
Here are three things Jesus teaches us about community:
Community Encourages and Supports: Your community will rally around you and be your greatest cheerleaders. They will also be there when you need a friend or friends to walk you through the difficult times of life and need a helping hand.
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.1 Thessalonians 5:16
Paul knew the importance of community and wrote in great detail about living in a community with one another.
You learn from each other. We all share various gifts and talents, making a community rich in resources. When people combine their skills, it makes a difference in everyone’s life. Jesus chose twelve very different people who each contributed to the ministry uniquely. Community shows the importance of diversity and its importance in our lives. If everybody were the same, it would be very dull.
It gives you a sense of belonging. No one likes to feel left out or alone, which attracted people to Jesus by the multitudes. Jesus left no one out, regardless of race, socio-economic status, or gender, and He welcomed everyone into community. Going to church is important, but building community together is even more valuable as we prepare for Christ’s return.
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (NLT)Hebrews 10:25
Are You in Community?
When trouble comes into our lives, not once does Jesus ask us to face them alone or say, “This one is on you.” Instead, Jesus calls us into community with Him and then asks us to carry one another’s burdens. Why? Because it fulfills the law of Christ.
Share each other’s troubles and problems, and so obey our Lord’s command.Galatians 6:2
What is a Burden?
Webster’s Dictionary defines a burden as a load, something that is carried, a duty or responsibility. Often, the enemy leads us to believe our burdens need to be carried alone, and this is the lie that wears us down, isolates us, tears us apart, and steals our joy and hope.
As believers, we need to be ready, and we are responsible for sharing, praying, and carrying the burdens of sisters and brothers in Christ and others who may not know Him. We need to have our arms open as wide as Jesus’ arms are open to us. The power of sharing the burden in a community protects, and gives strength, power, encouragement, and hope not only to the person who has the burden but also to the person or people who are praying.
The key word is “share” the burdens, not dump your burdens expecting others to carry your load alone, and fix your situation, while you are doing nothing for yourself.
God Created Us For Community
God created us for community. It doesn’t mean that our community is perfect, but it makes our lives much better by carrying and sharing our burdens than trying to take on the world’s weight on our shoulders. Community teaches us to go beyond ourselves and be compassionate and empathetic to situations from those around us.
The Weight of the World
Only one man could ever handle the weight of this world, and His name was Jesus. Jesus did carry the world’s weight on His shoulders, so we would never have to know the cost of carrying a burden alone. But Jesus left behind a community that would unite after his death to keep changing the world. Because of love, this community came together to tell the “Good News” that is still being shared around the world in communities today. What a beautiful gift!
Father, God, Thank You for the gift of community. Father, we know community can be messy and hard, but the value of community is priceless. Lord, help us to appreciate the gifts and talents of others and allow us to love others like you love us.