Cultivate Community

The older I become the more I realize we were never meant to live alone.

As a way of life, I love the freedom of being my own person. During creation God gave each of us free will. He gave us the freedom to choose to obey Him. He gave us the freedom to make decisions of our own accord. But, in all the free will and choices He gave mankind, He did not give us the choice of community.

In Genesis 2:18, after God has
created all of the earth, he looked at Adam and said, "It is not good for man to be alone.  I will make him a helper."  And then God created Eve.  Now, I know that in the end, Eve wasn't as helpful as she could have been.  But in the beginning God created her to be a helper for Adam.  God did not want Adam to be alone.

And He doesn't want us to be alone either.  He wants us to live together in community with each other.  I'm not going to lie.  Developing community takes work and a lo
t of it, but it will be worth it.

I like what Shauna Niequist wrote in her book Bread and Wine, "We don't learn to love each other well in the easy moments.  Anyone is good company at a cocktail party.  But love is born when we misunderstand one another and make it right, when we cry in the kitchen, when we show up uninvited with magazine and granola bars, in an effort to say, I love you."

No.  Cultivating community is hard work because we have to expose the deepest, ugliest parts of who we are and why were are the way we are.  Sometimes it hurts (1 Corinthians 6:1-8).  It challenges who we are (Proverbs 27:17). We are held accountable for our actions and our words (James 5:6).  But it's still worth it.


Because, in community, we find encouragement.  We find people who will pray with us.  We find people who will help us.  We share hardships.  Because, in community, we become more like Christ.  And ultimately, becoming more like Him should always be the goal.

So where do we start now?  How can we begin to develop community in our homes and in our churches?  In our lives?

First, be friendly.  It sounds kind of obvious, but you might be surprised.  Don't wait to be invited.  Do the inviting.  Open up your home.  And then, actually care about the people who come in.  The world quite revolving around you when you could use the restroom by yourself.  (Harsh?  Sorry.)  Lastly, show grace.  Recognize that we are all on a path leading in the same direction.  Yes, sometimes correction is needed, but more than correction, we need to share grace with people.  We're all broken and we all need God's grace.

It is this kind of community that points spiritually lost people to Christ.  It's when we respond with grace.  It's when we act in His love.

So, I encourage you, open your door to a friend and you'll find you've opened the door to community. isn't about perfection, and it isn't about performance.  You'll miss the richest moments in life--the sacred moments when we feel God's grace and presence through the actual faces and hands of the people we love--if you're too scared or too ashamed to open the door.

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