About local community…
For the past year or so, I have put together various community efforts. Participation is sparse, the moans are loud, and no one wants to share resources so we can serve individuals to the best of our ability. To me, this matters and makes all the difference in the world. It’s a no brainer for me to pursue an opportunity to collaborate and work within our community to Glorify Him. He wins hands down!
Lately, I have been praying about why community matters so much to me. Do I believe in spreading the Good News across the globe? You betcha! But, I also feel that it’s equally important to not forget the local areas in which we live. So many times, it’s much easier to do things away from home than to be seen by your friends, neighbors, and coworkers, when you are doing work to glorify our God. In my prayers and thoughts, I’ve been asking if it’s strictly government’s responsibility to take care of individuals to make sure that all needs are met.
I’m by no means an expert on government issues, but I can’t help but wonder if it was designed to lay the basic foundations and principles, while it be left up to the communities to care for the citizens that reside within each. Maybe this is a good thought? Maybe I missed the boat? I’m not so sure I’ve missed it completely. I have been reading and studying Nehemiah in the bible.
Jerusalem’s walls were in ruin. They were not only vulnerable to attack, but they were in disgrace! Nehemiah had such an awesome plan to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls. And, he did. But not by himself! It was a collaborative effort of all the individuals there. Each took the stones, timbers, and bolts, and rebuilt the section of the wall that they lived near.
While reading this, I realized how phenominally smart this plan was! It gave each person a sense of ownership, creating the motivation each person needed to participate to get the job done. I spent four years in college, and no top notch business book ever contained a plan this perfect. And, of course, it’s probably because they weren’t authored nor approved by the Almighty Himself. I am just in awe of what we can all learn from the bible. It IS God’s handbook for our lives. And it has me thinking! Yes, I know my mind can be a scary place-that was supposed to be funny, so please stop laughing now!
I was in the shower talking to God (just to prove that you can talk to God ANYWHERE!) about Nehemiah and how Jerusalem’s walls were rebuilt. It revolved around community. And each person had a job to do in close proximity to their home. So, my mind starts spinning it’s wheels (one round and one square wheel, but none-the-less, they spin, and it’s worked for me!), and soon I think about the people who don’t participate locally in our own communities. In particular, I thought about some coaching I’ve done for individuals who give up. They give up all hope to work, be involved, socialize, and they just exist but don’t really do anything. Their spirit is broken, they have been beat up and spit out, and they are completely lost.
My question turned into an answer and, I spoke aloud when I realized it. As I prayed to God about it, out of nowhere, a thought was squeezed out between the round and square wheel in my head. WHAT IF the people who give up have done so, because they do not know what their purpose is? How can anyone know what the plan is if they haven’t gotten to know their Creator?
Maybe…just maybe…they do not work, do not participate in community activities, and don’t become involved in anything, because they don’t know what they are designed to do. And, how can they know this-what their task is, their purpose, the plans that God has for them, until they know Him? Here’s the big thought, and this one I spoke outloud. How will they know unless we reach out to them to give them the same hope, the same future, the ability to know he has plans for them to protect them and not harm them (refer to Jeremiah 29:11) unless WE reach out to those in our own Jurusalems to tell them?
And, with that…I have the answer to the question I asked God about WHY our local communities are so important and can’t be forgotten. As Christians we have a responsibility to seek the lost in every part of the world. And as Christians, we show our love as He showed us His, by reaching out to the person next door…down the street…and across the tracks…that they can have hope in Him, just as we do. And with that, spoken with kindness, gentleness, and lots o’ love, we can begin to rebuild our own Jerusalems.
I pray that this touches your heart as it has touched mine.