We live in a world that tells us to put ourselves before others, to choose independence over interdependence. Because of this, it is easy for us to focus only on what is right in front of us.
We live in a world where we are taught that being self-sufficient is important, that we need to rely on our own resources to get us by, and so it is easy for us to think poorly of those who clearly need help.
We live in a world that lies to us.
From the beginning of the Bible to the end, it is clear that God created us to rely on and support each other. Genesis 2:18 says, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” Things weren’t good until there was more than one person.
Jesus lived and modeled community with his disciples constantly. He always sent them out in pairs, and the early church is the story of a people who were together and were of one heart and mind, sharing all in common. And then in Revelation 21, we’re given a picture of a new kind of community.
The time that we have here on earth isn’t about us. It’s not about helping ourselves to anything we want, climbing the ladder of success (that always seemed like an odd saying to me…how sturdy can that ladder really be, especially when a whole bunch of people are climbing it simultaneously?), relying on our own selves to get by, or any of those other things that we’ve been told are good ideas.
Philippians 2:3 says this: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.”
It should be our goal to look out for each other, to reach out to people who are hurting and offer to help carry their burdens for a little while. Because isn’t that what Jesus would be doing if he were physically here? And aren’t we to be the hands and feet of Jesus?
What does this have to do with the Mission? A couple things, actually. In thinking about my last post, in which I wrote about generosity (Yes, I know you don’t really need that reminder because you’re only one mouse scroll away from seeing it. I just like to make things easier for people.), I realized that I had more to say on that subject.
The people here are generous with their time and advice and concern because they recognize that we are all in this together–we’re part of a community that attempts to openly and honestly care for the well-being of others.
At any given time, I know what is happening in the lives of the people here because they tell me. Or they tell each other, and the information slowly makes its way back to me. It is a messy, somewhat unexpected community, but it thrives because these people care about each other. They are quick to share in both the heartaches and joys of their neighbors, and they genuinely look out for the people around them.
Granted, there are those who take advantage of this idea of reliance by taking more than they’ll ever be able to give. But they are usually balanced out by those who freely give all that they themselves have been blessed with.
Jesus is so clearly at work here, and it is amazing to watch.