A Story on the Benefits of Living in Community
One night, last week, I found myself standing in our driveway as a fancy white sports car started its engine and slowly pulled away from our house. Our doctor had just made a courtesy house call. While I watched our friends drive down the street and out of our neighborhood, I found myself amazed at God’s provision for our family.
Let me back up.
It started a few years ago when my wife, Julia, joined a discipleship group at our church. Even though she was a bit apprehensive of only knowing a few people, she was excited to be a part of a community with women her age and in the same stage of life.
Week after week, the women met at the home of the group’s leader, Carrie. Just a few years older, Carrie was a stay-at-home mother of two middle-schoolers, the wife of a local trauma surgeon, and a long-time member of our church. What started with my wife committing to a few weeks of doing a Bible study grew into the group meeting for a full year, then two years, and eventually into Julia and Carrie meeting together informally for a third year.
Over the course of their time together, my wife and Carrie developed a close friendship. In Carrie, my wife saw a mature woman who loved Jesus and was a few years further down the road. She was a great counselor and gave amazing, Christ-centered advice about being a wife, a mother, and a follower of Jesus. She was willing to make time for Julia and just listen. In Julia, I know, Carrie saw a young woman who was hungry to be more like Jesus and serve her family well. She was teachable.
As the friendship between Carrie and my wife deepened, our families found ourselves occasionally leaning on each other for needs. When Carrie’s daughter needed help nailing a vocal tryout for the lead role in the school play, Julia, who is a vocal coach, was there to help. When our children were born, Carrie and her husband visited us in the hospital and brought us dinner. When Carrie’s son needed help the night before an audition for the youth worship team, we came over, and I gave a few impromptu pointers. We began to experience the fruit of living in community together.
And that brings us back to last week when our older son accidentally hit our younger son in the face with a hard plastic pool toy during bath time, causing a gash below his eye. As Julia and I nervously weighed out whether the gash was worthy of a visit to the ER, we found ourselves wishing out loud, “Man, I wish there was a doctor we could just call and ask!”
Suddenly, I remembered the numerous occasions Carrie had told us if we ever needed anything or had any questions about medical stuff, to call her and her husband.
“Julia…Duh! Let’s call Carrie!”
As I tended to our injured little guy, Julia picked up the phone to call Carrie. Even though Julia had only called to ask for quick advice, before we could say anything else, there was a white sports car parking in front of our house, and Carrie and her husband were in our living room, looking at our boy’s eye.
As it turned out, we didn’t need an ER visit, and everyone slept easy that night. But Julia and I went to bed marveling at how God designed us to live in community with each other and to reap the benefits of that living. For us that night, we got a courtesy house call about a small cut from one of the best trauma surgeons in Atlanta. That just blew us away.
Here is my challenge to you: are you living in community or are you living on an island? Do you feel plugged in with other believers at your church, or do you feel like you attend somewhere each week, never really knowing anyone there? Do you have friends that are like true brothers and sisters, or are they more like acquaintances?
If the answers to these questions are not entirely positive, let me encourage you. Find a community of believers, dive in, and swim deep. Seek God in community. Not only will He honor your efforts, but you will find that is how the Christian life was designed to be experienced!
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)