I love community. I love being a part of it. I love talking about it. I love writing about it. I love fostering it. To me, it is one of the most beautiful ways that we experience life and God. I will never tire of learning about and through other people.
I have read that you determine whether you are a true extrovert or introvert based on how you acquire energy. If you are a true introvert, you receive more of your energy from being alone and if you are a true extrovert you receive more energy by being around others. I definitely get energy from others and lean towards extrovert, but like most I am probably a little of both. I have always been a part of community. Whether structured such as church, teams, bands, and various groups or unstructured such as with family and organic friend circles, it has always been a major part of who I am and shaped me. I have written about how we are made for community and our deep need for it and I find myself weaving it into almost everything that I write about.
Living in community provides support, educates, and enlightens allowing us to view the world from different perspectives. It keeps us seeking, humble, and encouraged. Everyone’s community looks different and is dynamic. Our lives are constantly changing, thus our relationships change. Moving locations, major life events, aging, and personal evolution often means changing friend groups and acquaintances, losing touch with some and gaining relationships with new.
For me faith-based community takes on many forms, for which I am thankful. Some of my brothers and sisters are related to me by blood, some live where I do, some are far away, some I don’t know personally, but yet I am still connected to them through Jesus. They don’t look the same, they don’t all speak the same language, they don’t all believe the exact same theology, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. One of my favorite truths about community is that no one is without a specific purpose. Needs must be met and realized. We exist in a constant ebb and flow of service to one another that teaches us about love. Sadly, despite this main function of community, sometimes those needs are unrealized and unmet due to the perception of the role that one takes to fulfill. Namely, behind-the-scenes roles are less desired by many people.
It can be discouraging to view your own unique place and gifts as insignificant. This discouragement leads to not stepping into our proper place, and then that particular need is not met; that gift is not received because it is never offered. We are not all that we are meant to be as the body of Christ, when all its members are not fulfilling a role and feeling significance.
Recently, I thought about how even the tiniest part on an airplane can cause the plane to malfunction and crash. Things such as a design flaw in a cargo latch and flawed wing design that leads to fatigue cracks can cause a plane to crash. Of course, I am not expert on this subject, but latches and a cracks are small things. They are small, but incredibly important.
Even the tiny parts must be working properly and continuously tested and examined in order for a plane to fly. No matter how insignificant or small something may seem, that perception has nothing to do with its actual importance. A single part out of place or not functioning properly can have a significant impact on the whole. Each part must be paid attention to and tested to ensure that everything is ok. We must acknowledge one another and check up on one another, in love and with grace. Most importantly, I hope that we can remember our worth is not found in what we do and to serve is the highest calling no matter what the capacity.
Unity and Diversity in the Body (I Cor. 14-27 ESV)
14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it,25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.