Several years ago when I lived on the west coast, we experienced a blackout that covered much of southern California including all of the San Diego area, parts of Arizona and even Nevada. The church, like nearly every business in the area, closed and we all went home early. Without traffic signals and security systems working, I remember wondering how safe the area was going to be. Being that the event took place just a few days before the tenth anniversary of September 11, many people wondered if it was associated with terrorism.
I expected a rough night. Instead, what I found when I got home was just the opposite. It seemed that most people in my neighborhood realized that the food in their refrigerators was going to spoil. So, without electricity to cook, nearly the entire neighborhood went outside and had an uncoordinated cookout. There were no riots, no crime, just an entire neighborhood hanging out. When it got dark, people went inside and went to bed since there were no street lights. Around 11:00 pm, power was restored. When that happened, you could hear the entire neighborhood shout.
God is relational. He desires his people to have relationship in community with him. In addition to that, he desires us to have community with other believers. One of the most encouraging things about being a follower of Christ is that we are not called to walk the road alone. Those who follow Jesus are called to do so, and to do life, together. That means that we purposefully develop relationship with others who follow him.
Community makes us stronger. Every person goes through times of difficulty and hardship. It’s just part of life. Think about the last time that you went through something tough. Do you remember certain people that were there for you in your time of need? What were the specific things that they did that helped?
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says
9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
There is no substitute for the community of believers helping one another and being there for one another in an hour of need. That is part of the reason that God calls us to community. The Bible says in Hebrews 10 for believers to “…consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (NIV).
So who is your community? Who is spurring you on? Who can you call on in your hour of need? And, who are those people that you spur on and encourage, and have the type of relationship with you that they could do the same?