Read His Words Before Ours!
After the hustle and bustle of after Christmas shopping, because that’s what you do with a baby who doesn’t know what Christmas is just yet, I plopped down on my bed to return a phone call to a dear friend of mine. A few minutes into catching up on how our holidays turned out, she switched the conversation. “Sara, how’s your heart doing? Where’s your head at?” It was in that moment I felt myself fall back into the familiarity of community and how this friend knew the depths of my heart. She knew the questions to ask, no matter how hard, and waited patiently for the answer.
I haven’t always been blessed with a body of believers around me. In fact, I didn’t even know what community was until about seven years ago. On my first three-month missions trip to Kenya I was on a team with ten other people. I assumed we were going to be spending a good bit of time together, but y’all, this was all the time togetherness. You see, I love being around people, but I also like knowing I can flee whenever the chance arises. Unfortunately for me, there was no fleeing option when overseas living in the middle of nowhere. I looked at this playing out in two different ways. First, I could choose to separate myself from the group and be a part of the team when I felt like it, or, I could choose to be all in, all the time and allow the body of people around me to take me in where I was at and to love me to Jesus, every day. Quickly, this life of community, one I’d never been around, became something my spirit craved so deeply.
Coming home after experiencing that type of community was shocking. I entered back into superficial lifestyles with no depth to conversation and it shook my core. My mind couldn’t fathom why we in America lived so separated, while overseas they lived in clusters of huts, looked after each other’s cattle, watched one another’s kids, and most importantly, they broke bread together.
“All the believers were one in heart and mind.
No one claimed that any of their possessions were their own,
but they shared everything they had.”
Living a life in community means you live with an open hand.
Just as you receive, you in turn give.
Now don’t get me wrong, community isn’t without its faults. Being vulnerable before other believers is hard. To most people it’s abnormal sharing the intimate details of your life with others, yet it’s Biblical. Romans 12:4-8 states
“Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body.
We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.
So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you.
If your gift is serving others, serve them well.
If you are a teacher, teach well.
If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging.
If it is giving, give generously.
If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously.
And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.”
We are all uniquely made, and we all have so much to offer one another.
If one member suffers, all suffer together;
if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
One of the most used phrases in my community is ‘know that you are fought for.”
I mean, how could you not want to be a part of something where you have people in your corner, fighting for you, on a daily basis. There is something so extremely comforting knowing that I have people who care about me, and who want to see me succeed, and who will tell me when I’m not acting like I should. They push, they comfort, and they are there. When I got married, I had some of the greatest human beings standing and cheering alongside of me watching Jeremy and I pledge our lives to one another before God. Just as supportive, on the other hand, when I lost my sweet baby Everett just nine months later, I had the greatest support system lifting me up in prayer and some days they literally lifted me up, when I felt like I couldn’t stand any longer. They became my armor bearers.
This concept of community might seem strange yet as we all have our own unique gifts and purposes that God has given us, we work better together, rather than apart. I encourage you to pray and ask the Lord for the community He has in store for you.
If you have community like this, I want to hear about it!
What do you love most about your community?
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