6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. 9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. (2 Timothy 1:6-13, New International Version)
In America we have the Declaration of Independence. We idolize independence. We like songs such as, “I’ve Got to Be Me,” and “I’ll do it My Way.” We love the Lone Ranger and forget he had Tonto. We love thinking we are independent. We buy a myth that happiness is independence. If I have independence in every area of life, if I don’t let people get close to me and I’m self-sufficient, I will be happy. The real key to happiness is not independence but inter-dependence. We need each other. We belong to each other. We need community in our lives. God wired us to go through life not as a solitary individual but in community.
Romans 12 says, “In the same way, though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other. We need each other. Community is not optional. You may think, “I’m self-sufficient. I don’t need anyone” That’s wrong. We need others to be what God calls us to be.
You can’t fulfill God’s purposes for your life by yourself. We can’t be all God calls us to be or do all God calls us to do. To fulfill God’s purposes for putting us here, relationships with others is key. We need each other in the body of Christ.
Why we need each other. God gives five reasons God we need other people in our lives.
We need people to walk with us. To grow spiritually, Paul writes be rooted and built up in Jesus establishing our faith, to be overflowing with thanksgiving.
Christians often compares a faithful life to a walk, a journey. We don’t sit still in life. We move past where we were on to something new. So we take a spiritual life. Yet we weren’t meant to go it alone. This isn’t about being married. Many adults have meaningful spiritual lives in the community and aren’t married. Many married adults are desperately lonely. Marriage doesn’t solve the problem, community does.
Some ask, what’s wrong with walking alone? We need others because it safer. Have you walked in darkness alone? It can be scary. It’s safer to walk with others.
It is supportive. We won’t give up easily. We feed off others energy. When we want to give up we often find a way to continue.. An old Zambian proverb says, “When you run alone you run fast. But when you run together you run far.” Life is not a 100-yard dash, it’s a marathon we won’t finish without other others who encourage us on the way..
It’s smarter to have at least a few close friends. You will learn more walking with others.
Community is God’s answer to loneliness. We all need a place to practice love. The world needs that. We must learn to love. Diana Ross used to sing, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of. What the world needs now is love, sweet love.”
Second, we need others working with us. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 2, We are God’s accomplishment, created to do good things. God planned these good things as a way to live our lives. We each have talents, God’s gifts. I am not a mechanic. I know where the gas goes. When it has gas and it doesn’t work, call a mechanic. It’s that simple. The mechanic uses those gifts to help me, we can call it ministry. When any of us use our gifts, what God wires us for, there is ministry.
“Two are better than one,” says the writer of Ecclesiastes. They had a good return for their work. If one should, they can pick each other up… Triple braid rope doesn’t easily break.
Some people fall for “The Mother Teresa Syndrome.” It’s the idea that a lone person will change the world alone. Mother Teresa didn’t really try. She had many people helping. Other nuns in her order for starters. Snowflakes are frail but if enough stick together traffic stops.
Third, others can watch out for us. We need others to defend us. We need people to keep us on track. We all a few blind spots. Paul writes, “Look out for one another’s interest, not just your own.” (Ephesians 2:4) Don’t look out for your own interest, look out for others too.
We all have blind spots. Hopefully someone tells us and we fix it.
Fourth, we need others to weep with us. We all go through hard things. When a spouse is in surgery, we need someone to lean on, to wait with us. It is part of the reason this virus has been so hard. Too many are alone.
We need people to wait during hard times. They can comfort us in bad news and celebrate good news. We need people during life’s crises We should never face these alone.
These things will happen. A loved one dies. Tragedy happens. We get bad news. We need others with us. The time to build a safety net.
Last, others can help me to share the love of Christ. We each have a life message God wants shared. That’s our mission. God didn’t intend we do this mission alone. We should be known as place who love all God’s children.
2 Timothy 1 says, “The Holy Spirit doesn’t want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and to enjoy being with them.” God intends we live in community.
Of all the people God could have put here, God chose you. God wants you to be a faith leader. To that, we can’t sit on the bench.
Seeking the Genuine,
Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved