I had a great weekend! This past Saturday morning I helped a friend move to his new home. It was great to see a whole group of guys coming together for a family who lived in the neighborhood for so many years. While we will miss them, the memories we built together were cemented by the opportunity to help and make their transition an easy one. All of this happened on my birthday, which truly allowed me to look introspectively at one of the biggest gifts I have: community.
The word community is a great construction of thoughts: common + unity. When you think about the people that live around you, do you think of the common aspects that bring unity? I don’t think many cultures foster these thoughts. We are more focused on being independent and showing everyone else, sometimes even the ones closest to us, that we can live our life on our own without anyone’s help. A 2010 a Pew Research Study shows that only 19% of Americans claim to know all of their neighbors. In contrast, my wife and I make every effort to welcome new families and help others to feel part of a community that stands by each other; ready to step in and be the helping hand needed for any moment.
Saturday’s experience was amazing example of community: a group of people united with a goal of serving selflessly. Some moved boxes, others moved gardening tools and I helped pack the U-Haul. Common unity at it’s best. That wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t know each other. If we didn’t spend time at the park, attended the seasonal neighborhood events or hung out by the pool.
When you give love, love comes back to you
I truly believe that God called us to live in community as a catalyst for love as shown in the bible verse of 1 John 4:11:
“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
Ultimately, when we do life together it allows people to stand in the “gap” and cover for your needs. They help you when you least expect it and often when you need it the most. I’ve been reminded of that again this month as my wife travelled to serve in Uganda for two-weeks and friends cooked for me, picked up my kids and generally checked-in to see if I needed any help. All of this without me even asking. Fast-forward to last week and my car died. Once again, a friend was ready to step in and offered me to use his second car while I look for one to buy. Community doesn’t happen unless you invest in people. I believe that when you love people they are more eager to love you back. It becomes organic and contagious. It grows and it spreads.
Community is a gift wrapped in love. One that is shared with others around you.