Encouragement for Today - Feb. 21, 2007
God’s Design for Community
By Glynnis Whitwer
John 15:12, “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” (NAS)
A tragedy happened in our church a few years ago - a young woman was killed in a car accident. The shock rippled through the church and hearts of all who knew and loved this woman. The woman, her parents, two of her aunts, and their families were active members at our church.
What happened within hours of her death is why living in community is important. It didn’t take long for the news to circulate, and when it did, people leapt into action. The parents of this young lady led a small group, and those members immediately surrounded them with love, brought food, cleaned their house, sent cards and letters, took over their responsibilities at church, helped with their home-based business and more. The care extended beyond the group they led, and arrived from people at church who hardly knew them, but were moved with compassion.
The grief felt by the family was overwhelming for a long time. One of the beautiful things to happen was their Christian brothers and sisters stayed faithful throughout the next year to support them in very practical ways, and it still continues today.
In a world where people feel isolated and alone, God created a unique and loving community called the Church. In fact, one of the first acts in Jesus’ ministry was to establish a community of believers, the disciples. These 13 men, including Jesus, transformed the world with the Good News of the
We were not created to do life or ministry alone. Community was God’s plan to change the world. Jesus was completely capable of preaching, teaching and healing by Himself. It’s not as if Jesus needed anyone to help Him! But God designed us to need each other, and Jesus lived this out by taking along 12 friends.
Being in a loving community helps us in many ways. We have friends to encourage us when we feel down, someone to help when we struggle with a problem, we learn to love as Jesus loved, it helps us stay committed to our Christian faith, and we can also be ourselves. Community also helps us stay obedient to God. Jesus commanded us to “… love one another, just as I have loved you” (John NAS). The only way to love others is to live in community.
There are many more benefits to being involved in a Christian community, but one of the best is that Jesus is uniquely present when we gather. And wherever Jesus is, is a good place to be!
Dear Lord, I praise You and thank You for Your caring provision for all my needs. Thank You for creating the Church to be Your hands and feet to our hurting world. I ask Your forgiveness for those times I’ve neglected to show Your love. Please help me be more loving and to see needs that I can meet. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Homespun Gifts from the Heart by Karen Ehman, Kelly Hovermale, and Trish Smith
Identify one way you can show God’s love to another person this week.
Read Hebrews 10:24-25, included in today’s “Power Verse” section.
How does meeting together, either in a small group or church setting, help us encourage each other?
What can happen to us spiritually when we stop going to church, or being involved with other Christians?
Just meeting together doesn’t guarantee there will be a sense of community. What are some attributes of a healthy Christian community?
How can Christians spur one another toward love and good deeds? Identify some practical ways this can happen.
Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (NIV)
Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (NIV)
Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (NIV)
Acts 2:44, “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and good, they gave to anyone as he had need.” (NIV)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105