God made us want and need one another. Beginning in Genesis, God created man and woman to need and complement one another. Numerous scriptures give us encouragement and instruction on caring loving and including one another, but this is not an easy task.
In America, we are marketed to be individualistic.
We are told to:
- Just Do It
- Have it Our Way
- Go for the win even if the cost is great
- That we deserve to have to do and to be individuals
- We can do it on our own if we work hard enough and we are often pitted against one another for a prize.
Sure most of these phrases are marketing campaigns meant to entice us to buy a product. However, they generate an idea. They generate the concept that we can and should make it on our own to succeed. This has become a significant part of our American culture.
How often have you heard these phrases?
- That is someone else’s problem
- It doesn’t concern me
- That is personal, no one else’s business but mine
- To each his own
All this to say we live in a culture that encourages individual ideas and work over a community. It is fostered, strengthened, and fortified by many of the events we attend, the products we buy and the choices that we make day in and day out.
The Bible is very clear about our need for one another. Remember how we started this talk, God not only made us for one another but to be with one another.
As Christians, we are encouraged to:
- Be with one another I John 1:7
- Love one another I John 3:11 4:7, I Peter 4:8
- Encourage one another I Thessalonians 4:15, Hebrews 10:24
- Forgive one another Colossians 3:13
- Teach one another Matthew 28:19-20, Colossians 3:13
- Submit to one another Ephesians 5:21
- Bear with one another Colossians 3:13
- Confess to one another James 5:16
- Offer hospitality to one another I Peter 4:9
- Worship together Hebrews 10:25
These are just a few of the verses about how we are to care and love one another. So clearly, we are meant to do Christian life as a community.
I don’t know about you, but as I look at the list of one another's, I am deeply convicted. I regularly play tug-of-war with the individualism ideology that has become a filter in my life. I want others to see that I am able and capable and usually on my own.
However, this is a lie and a recipe for burn out. We are always better together!
Now sometimes it won’t feel or look that way. Initially, it is easier to manage many things when we only have to check-in with ourselves, but it is always more prosperous, and more loving, and broader reaching when we work together.
The church is meant to be a community. The core of Christianity is about relationships. First with God and then with others. It is that simple. We were never meant to go it alone, to be a Lone Ranger, to be in or out of the spotlight on our own.
The church is where we grow and learn, and serve and be. It is what Christ died to save. His church, not mine, not yours, but His and ours.
- Count how many times today you filter your choices with the construct: how will this affect me?
- Read the “One Another” in the New Testament this week. Then lean into at least one of them this week.
Lori Ferguson serves as Children's Director at NUMC, and has been at the church since 2015. When she's not planning or teaching, she enjoys spending time with her grandkids. Read more about Lori here.