“There’s Gold in them thar Communities”.
Communities form a very important part of our social structure. There are large communities and there are small communities. Apart from Cities and Neighborhoods, there are other types of communities – Cell groups, Prayer groups, sports groups, Companies, Families and Marriages. Yes, even Marriage can be seen as a community!
All communities can potentially be a source of great wealth. Wealth in community is not necessary financial, but also making time for one another, praying for one another and encouraging one other.
Relationships form the basis of any community and therefore will decide on its success or failure. These relationships can be seen as bridges – strongly built or weak – open and clear or blocked. A bridge is often made by first sending one strand of wire across a cavern. From there, more strands are added until finally the bridge is complete – clear, open and strong – able to carry a highway for vehicles to safely travel on.
Normally, when community groups begin, they are strong because the parties are united. Members are enthusiastic, working towards a common goal and therefore, ‘unity means power’. After a period of time, these relationships begin to weaken as disagreements and other issues creep in. The common goal of the group begins to fade and focus on each other’s behavior takes priority. The result of these disagreements are disgruntled members leaving, taking with them a degree of anger and bitterness. The group, as a whole suffers, as precious resources are lost.
If we are able to face these issues in an open and truthful manner and deal with them in an unselfish way, we begin to strengthen the bridges of relationships. This will cause the group to once again be reunited, and gain strength. Being open and honest in these types of circumstances means that we will be humbled as we become vulnerable in sharing the truth. Servant hearts are needed to maintain bridges of relationship
God, in His wisdom, has a way for us to deal with these types of circumstances. He teaches us in the scriptures how to deal with negative situations in community. I have personal experience of this process working in a business environment with people who do not believe in God!
We might ask what the point is in forming and maintaining these bridges of relationship? The main reason is that, as believers, we have been given a command by Jesus to go and teach the Gospel. Secondly, we will not be able to participate in the wealth of community if we have unpleasant relationships with others. In order to share the Gospel with others, we need to have a relationship with them. The stronger the relationship (bridge), the more genuine wealth we can share with others.
What is this wealth we have to offer others?
Real wealth, in terms of caring and sharing in community, cannot come from us naturally, because we were born with a sinful nature and Paul explains what our sinful nature is really like. He shows us that authentic wealth comes through Jesus Christ in us. In essence, the sinful nature in us must die before the Christ in us can shine through, sharing this wealth with others.
The Lord gave His only son that we might be set free of this nature. It happens, once off, at the cross.
Paul describes this for us. Yes, Jesus died that our sins may be forgiven, but He also died that we would be set free of our sinful nature…forever! For us today, that it is a continuous daily process.
As our old nature starts to become regenerated into a Christ like nature, we begin to share Godly wealth with others – “more of You Lord, less of me”.
Godly, real Wealth in community will flow as we begin to live Jesus’s lifestyle. A lifestyle of unselfishly caring for others. Once true wealth flows, unity and strength are evident and such a united body cannot be conquered.
Lord, help us to taste of some of the ‘Gold in them thar communities’ by forming and maintaining the bridges of relationship around us.
From: “time with the Master…”