Last week we discussed the importance of friendships and what a beautiful picture of Community they are. We’ll get to a different aspect of Community in just a minute…
There are a couple more Scriptures, as well as a jewel of a quote from Melanie Shankle, in her book we talked about last week: Nobody’s Cuter than You, pointing us to a very close friendship in the Bible.
I Samuel 20:42 has Jonathan talking to David, but since we’re talkin’ about girlfriends, we must use the below picture for this poignant verse:
Melanie closes her book with, “…God has given us the people He has placed in our lives as He knits our souls with theirs:
It’s a Miracle…
May we never lose the wonder of it all.”
Think of all of your relationships and savor I Corinthians 13:4-7 with me from The Message:
“Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always ‘me first’,
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.”
Long, deep, close-knit friendships love unconditionally. When you do have bumps in the road (and we all have), consider your friendship’s history….you know his or her character…Is the bump consistent or inconsistent with their character? Extend grace and move on…
It’s important to keep and care for your Community.
Communities are not just found from long-term friendships… Many times they develop and grow out of Bible Study Small Groups, or Small Groups from your church. Some are actually called “Community Groups”.
While I’ve been talking about groups of girlfriends, Small Groups can also be composed of married couples or couples engaged to be married. It’s healthy to build friendships with other couples.
Our boys are blessed to all be in Small Groups of married couples they love doing life with. Best-case scenario is when your Community Group helps grow your faith.
An excellent resource to help you with this comes from author extraordinaire, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. His book, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian in Community is for all of us. (It’s also a nice, short, quick read.)
Bonhoeffer wrote this pertaining to the unique fellowship he experienced in an undergound seminary during the Nazi years in Germany. His indescribable joy he had in the Lord, even during such harsh and frightening times, including his later imprisonment in the concentration camps, defines inspirational.
He was martyred by the Gestapo near the end of World War II. He’d been plotting to assassinate Hitler. Fellow prisoners have told countless moving stories of their encounters with Bonhoeffer and his evangelical, compassionate ways toward each of them.
He begins with Psalm 133:1 which tells us:
“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (NIV)
He tells us, “We shall consider a number of directions and precepts that the Scriptures provide us for our life together under the Word .” Envision an umbrella of protection. He includes beautiful Scripture verses in each of his five chapters: Community, The Day with Others, The Day Alone, Ministry and Confession and Communion.
Let this sink in for a minute: “For Christians the beginning of the day should not be burdened and oppressed with besetting concerns for the day’s work. At the threshold of the new day stands the Lord who made it.
All the darkness and distraction of the dreams of night RETREAT before the clear light of Jesus Christ and His wakening Word. All unrest, all impurity, all care and anxiety FLEE before him.
Therefore, at the beginning of the day let all distraction and empty talk be silenced and let the first thought and the first word belong to Him to whom our whole life belongs.”
Powerful! In short: No whining. Just praise!
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention and recommend Eric Metaxas’ book, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Total tome, but well worth your time! Beyond fascinating.
Finally, if you’re not in a Small Group or Community Group and would like to be, call your church or ask a friend about one. It’s an experience you don’t want to miss and will be the best thing worth adding to your calendar!
‘Til next time!