“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecc. 4:9-12).
While the topic of community is one of great difficulty for me to accurately convey, it is one of the most important topics as well. When we willfully find our place in the Christian community, we are at home in God’s family and won’t endure life’s great trials or difficult moments alone. We will have that friend to call when we have a bad day. We will have that friend by our side when the doctor gives us poor news, our marriage or singleness is greatly in need of fervent prayers, or (literally) find ourselves stranded in the middle of nowhere. Regardless of our faith or circumstances, it is essential for every human being to have a community of friends. Now as people who are following Jesus Christ, it is even more important to have the right community. Not only do we need to have a community, but we also need to find those who will build us up in our faith and hold up our hands for us (Ex. 17:12) when we are struggling the most.
My biggest longing as a human being who follows Jesus Christ is for a better community. This is an area of my life makes for some difficult conversations. Those around me, often don’t understand my emphasis on community or this deep desire I have for such a thing. The topic of the Christian community is something making its way into my conversations and also influences the way I live out my daily life.
The community I seek, though, often is far from where others are in their lives. I have learned over the years that this loud and deep desire, is something very few people understand. Even so, I still believe that God has called us into deep community with one another as Christians. Our Risen Savior came to reconcile us to our heavenly Father. There is also another thing that rose with Christ – the ability to live in community with one another. In the book of Acts (2:42-47), those believers seemed like they had it “figured out.” They lived together and knew what community meant. They weren’t perfect at living in community, but they didn’t give up on one another. As they dwelt among each other, they made sure each person had their needs met. They selflessly loved those within their community.
Since the days of Acts 2, social media and technology have arisen and altered the way we view and live out this concept of community. This doesn’t have to be a solely negative thing. Times have changed, but we can use it to our advantage. We can use our social media accounts and technology’s various aspects, to enhance the relationships we have.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 teaches us how to make the most of our relationships – to be there for one another and make sure we have our buddies’ backs. When we are there for one another, we are ensuring that no one lacks what they truly need. Let’s use the truths found in these few verses, to remember what our community of relationships can be about. Our relationships have potential, because of the hope we have found in Jesus Christ alone who has reconciled His people to our Heavenly Father and who alone can reconcile and rebuild our relationships with one another.
God has given us the gift of craving deeper relationships.While we may experience various types of friendships, we can aim for more to be found in these sacred places of our hearts and lives. We can aim for more, because of the great God of grace, we serve. When we feel these intense longings, let’s use them to run to Jesus Christ. Running to Jesus is absolutely the best thing we could do, with longings such as ours concerning the need for the Christian community. We are given the perfect community with our heavenly Father, through Christ alone.
As we crave authentic Christian community, let’s begin to build our better community by starting with our relationship with God. We can allow authenticity to invade our relationships with others by allowing it to be found first in the welcoming relationship we possess with our Creator, because of the work of the cross. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are given the privilege of a community that is never lacking. May the Lord God begin today cultivating this kind of community, in His life-long friendship with each of us both now and always.