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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Importance of Community

In the 1960s, the folk rock duo, Simon & Garfunkel, sang a song called "I Am a Rock." The lyrics speak of a person who has chosen to wall himself off from others. The song ends with this person's reason for desiring to be alone--if he isolates himself from others, he won't feel pain or shed tears of sadness or disappointment. God's Word tells us that to live like that, to be alone, is meaningless (Ecclesiastes 4:8). Rather, it is better to surround ourselves with brothers and sisters, friends who will be there to lift us up in our times of need (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

As followers of Christ, it is important that we understand the importance of community. We were not created to go through life alone. God Himself said that it is not a good thing for a man (or woman) to be alone. It was for that reason that, after creating Adam, the first man, God created a helper for him, the first woman, Eve (Genesis 2:18). Man was not created by God the be alone.

The early church understood the importance of community. Not only did they gather together to praise and worship the Lord and to share in His grace, but they also shared all that they owned with each other. They made sure that all of the believers were taken care of. Because they understood the need for community, because they made it their practice to gather together, they were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:31-35). The result is that more and more believers were added to the body of Christ every day.

Jesus' words also teach us the importance of community. On the night before He gave His life for us, Jesus prayed not just for His disciples, but also for all of us who would come to know Him because of the testimony of the disciples. In that prayer, Jesus prayed that we would all be one--just as He and the Father are one. Jesus knew that our ability to live in community with one another was necessary for the world to believe that He was sent by God and that God loves all of us (John 17:20-23).

Community is important, not just for each of us as individuals, but also for the kingdom of God here on earth.

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