June 9, 2009
21st Century Community
“Do not forsake your own friend or your father's friend nor go to your brother's house in the day of your calamity; for better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away."
Proverbs 27:10 NKJV
When I moved to Charlotte, it was one of the loneliest times of my life. I was pregnant with my third child, in a new city with no church and no close friends. When Madi was born, I quickly realized just how badly I missed my small group back in Davenport, Iowa. There were no hospital visits from friends, no meals from my group and no play dates for my other two children from friends who wanted to help. These were all things I had experienced with my second child; I realized just what they meant to me when I no longer had them.
With email and internet, community has taken on a new meaning. Some ministries have "online communities" and bloggers everywhere have friends all around the world. Technology has done some amazing things for us when it comes to friendships.
But what happens when you need a friend to hold you? To come and lay hands on you and pray for you? To bring you a meal for dinner because you are sick? It is at times like these that we need the kind of community that comes from neighbors and those who live nearby.
Recently, a dear friend called me and said, "Lynn, can you come over?" She didn't need to say any more. My friend wasn’t physically sick; she was heart sick. I was there within 20 minutes. Later on that day, supper was there for her too. These are the types of friendships that we need and can depend upon day in and day out. You just can’t fully get that when your community doesn’t live in your community!
Proverbs 27:10 encourages us, "Do not forsake your own friend or your father's friend nor go to your brother's house in the day of your calamity; for better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away." When I was growing up, I remember my mother having a friend over some afternoons for coffee. They didn’t have to make an appointment on their calendars to meet at Starbuck’s a few weeks down the road.
Sometimes, I wish I lived in those days of a slower pace of life. Obviously, I don’t, but I can still invite a friend, spur of the moment, to come over for tea and chat about the important and not so important things in life.
Far away friends are great; I am so thankful for each and every one that I have. But in the middle of our fast paced, email raced society, let's not neglect our relationships that are right outside our front door. A friend when in need is a friend indeed!
Dear Lord, help me to slow down enough to embrace the friendships you have placed in my life. And if I am lacking true friends, please open my eyes to those in front of me who would be just that. Not only may I find true friends, Lord, but make me one as well. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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What friendships do you have that have been neglected lately? What can you do to show these friends they are important to you?
If your life lacks deep friendships, make a commitment to meet some new friends. Think of where you can go to meet some new people. Bible study or small group at church? Taking an exercise class? Having a tea in your home for your neighbors? Volunteer at the school, or for a ministry?
Is there some reason in your life that you do not have deep friendships; possibly a healing that needs to take place?
Ecclesiastes 4:9, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:” (NIV)
Ecclesiastes 4:10, “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (NIV)
© 2009 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105