The first has to do with community and the reality that each person is part of a community. Back in the 1500’s John Donne penned the words “No man is an island.” Everyone is a part of the whole. “Do not ask for who the bell tolls, it tolls for thee,” is another part of that same devotional. Whenever the bell tolls announcing the passing of a life, it tolls for the rest of mankind. Mankind is the poorer for everyone that passes into the next life. We all have a contribution to make and the loss of even a single life means that the rest of us will no longer have access to that contribution. Thus the importance of building a legacy. What is the legacy will you leave behind when your peeps will no longer have access to your contributions? Will you leave a legacy that will live on because you faithfully invested in others?
The second has to do with our role in being part of a community. The Bible says that God has built or knit together the body of Christ with the gifts needed for that community. You have a role to play. In my John Deere tractor book, it shows that different tractors play different roles on the farm. Big tractors for heavy jobs and smaller ones for lighter tasks. Everyone has a part to play to make the community stronger. While we’re making our contribution, we are also learning from others in the community because they are playing their role. Jethro came alongside Moses to provide a helpful tip on carrying out his responsibilities more efficiently. Paul came alongside Timothy to help and encourage him as he carried on the ministry in his arena of influence. Paul’s letters to Timothy are classic mentor to protege communications. Timothy, too had a role he needed to play and performed better because Paul had made significant contributions into his life.
In the grand scheme of things, Facebook is a recent arrival on the scene. It is yet another tool of the community. The beauty of this tool is that it allows us to be part of a community without geographic boundaries. We have the ability to encourage and challenge one another. I have the ability to reach across the miles and yes, even back across time to encourage lives that I’ve touched in the past. How many of you have connected with and encouraged high school or college classmates.
The whole process of blogging is another tool of the global community. It enables us to reflect and share thoughts much like I am doing here. Hopefully, these thoughts will encourage someone else to reflect on how they are contributing to the community. These tools enable us to think beyond ourselves and to work for the benefit of the whole.
There is a saying that “It takes a village.” I have been strengthened because of my participation in the community. No one person has the answer to all of life’s issues any more. As a result it truly does take a village of different people with different life experiences to help me along the path. The book of Hebrews challenges us to give serious thought to how we might spur each other on toward love and good deeds. I’d encourage all to heed this advice as we each play an integral role in those communities (families, churches, schools, neighborhoods, work environments, etc.) we are a part of.