For In Community, We Are Whole
To be known, to be understood and to be loved. There is something deep within every soul that longs for connection. We were not made to be islands. God made us complete in Him, and yet parts of a whole.
Have you ever served in a church community or volunteered with a service project where things seemed to run so smoothly? I love it when I am in those environments when things are vibing.
I once was in a wedding where things really did run with such joy and peace. Everyone had their role. The roommate of the bride made sure the bridal party was fed, while another kept the brides’ spirit up. Another had faithfully prayed for her for years as she waited for the right one, while another helped with the flower girl’s hair. No one was the star. No one was looking to serve themselves. Each served where she was needed - with joy. Some were exuberant, some quiet. This bride has surrounded herself with women of quality. I loved seeing how each played a role in shaping her. On her special day, each served where they had a strength. It was truly beautiful!
This is what each of us were made for: Belonging. Connection. Serving as members of a whole.
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12, New International Version)
We each have been uniquely gifted with passions and talents that serve those around us. There is no one quite like you on the planet. And the people around you need you to step into those places He has deposited the seed of His spirit. There is something about you walking in the wonder of who He is in you that blesses those around you.
I think perhaps our culture has given credit to the one shining on the stage or the outgoing person that brings people together, and has forgotten all the people in the background who make it all actually gel. A church only functions as it’s members give financially, serve where there are needs and invite others to come. A party host only flourishes if she is surrounded by people who also like to build relationships, help create an ambiance and love on others.
One feels the emptiness in settings where one person is running the whole show. It takes an army of people to taste the richness of true fellowship and connection. We are incomplete without those around us who helped us become who we are and who help us thrive in our own gifts. When we start to forget that, things start to come undone.
What hinders community from growing? A looking inward at our own lack? A focus on more on what is in the spotlight than what is happening behind the scenes? A lack of appreciation of the gifts others have that don’t make sense to us?
The miracle of the body is that every part has a function. The hand needs the arm. The foot needs the ankle. Without the parts that attach, the hand is rendered useless. Without the ankle, the foot would function as a weight rather than an asset. So it is Christ’s bride, no part is greater than another. Each is critically important.
When my son was diagnosed with stage 2 cancer this past fall, we would not have been able to function from a place of peace, focusing on the urgent needs of my son, if not for our communities support. Prayers, timely encouraging texts and lots of meals; we got to see the Bride in all her glory and it was a testimony not only to us, but to those watching.
The Spirit of God doesn’t need us. Yet, the miracle of community is that He chooses most often to work through others. How could we see Jesus move if not through physical manifestations of His people? How else would we know love, but to be loved by another human? We better understand Him through His people. We are drawn to Him by the example of His Body.
The number one ploy of the Enemy of our souls is to isolate us and tell us we don’t need the gifts of others. For he knows when we are alone, we are prone to believe more easily the lies he throws at us.
May we never lose the wonder of community. May we never get so caught up in our own realities and needs that we forget how much we need one another. May we never believe the hype of the seeming star role and forgot about the supporting roles that make it all work.
For what is the head without a brain? Or a heart full of love without the arms to serve and love? One is not better than another. Each is profoundly important. Each of us has a role deeply planted into our DNA. We can’t be someone else, because our DNA speaks to something more profound. For in us fulfilling our role, not only are others blessed, but we are deeply fulfilled in becoming who we were made to be.
We were made for one another. To rejoice together, to celebrate together, to struggle together and to just be present together. For in another’s heart, we hear our own struggles communicated in a fresh way. In community, our burdens become lighter and the walk becomes enjoyable.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.