With all this talk about “community” these days, I think we would benefit from what the ancients had to say on the subject. Take Nehemiah for example. Now, there was a man who understood community like no other. He not only wrote the book on it, he lived it. Nehemiah was used to rally a huge community of willing volunteers to rebuild the wall of God’s holy city. We’re told that they “set their hands to this good work.” (2:18) It’s also stated in Nehemiah’s journal, “the people had a mind to work.” (4:6) Together they labored side by side, overcame the obstacles and they even donated needed materials toward the project. Once their mission was accomplished, they all celebrated the blessings of community and glorified the very God their community was founded upon. You see, there is an expectation that comes with community – people must pull together for a common good. Those who don’t aren’t truly a part. They merely take up space – living off the benefits of community, while sponging off the grace of those who build it.

To best understand the definition of community, all one need do is dissect the term from its compounded form: common-unity. That says it all right there, doesn’t it? There must be a common purpose that unites people together. In a church community, our purpose is to build on the solid foundation of Christ and bear fruit glorifying to the Father. This opens the door for all kinds of opportunity. And if God is in it, the people must set their hands to the good work. They must also have a mind to work. Once the goal is finally achieved, the blessings of community gush out like crazy. There is excitement, celebration and an overwhelming sense of gratification and accomplishment.

It is said that no man is an island. I’m not convinced. It seems there are a lot of little islands out there. I’m talking about those who never really integrate with others. I truly feel for them. Because they contribute nothing to the wellbeing of those around them, their lives lack true meaning. God shows us our sense of purpose through community, and community is only achieved through group participation. There must be willing volunteers who are united to accomplish a common good. People need something greater than a paycheck to build their esteem – something motivated from the heart that says they’re worth more than just a dollar amount. Community offers just that, at least church community does. It offers a sense of value that the secular world cannot. The world will only rob us of it.

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