What is a community? It is a group of people who live and work in harmony. Why would we want to belong to one?
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Value of a Friend
9 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee we will love and care for each other. Thus, the Apostle Paul, when he wrote to the Thessalonians found it necessary to write these words.
2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 New King James Version (NKJV)
10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.
A healthy and thriving community is not something that just happens. Its members must work for its success. Yet note how Paul phrased his rebuke. He did not condemn those who cannot work. He rebuked those who WILL NOT WORK. It is the example of the lazy that becomes a drag on a community.
The type of community that most cherish we call a family. That’s because families are
bonded by love. Here we find the sort of caring that most readily causes us to voluntarily serve one another.
What many of us long to see is the relationships we have with those outside our families take on the character family relationships. Hence, when Jesus sought to reassure His apostles, he spoke these words.
John 14:1-6 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Way, the Truth, and the Life
14 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
When Jesus spoke of the Church as His Bride, He was telling His disciples that He would bring those who accepted His grace into Heaven — into His Father’s house — as His family.
When a Jewish couple was betrothed, the bridegroom went to his father’s house, and he added on a room for himself and his bride. The wedding occurred when the addition was ready. Then the bridegroom went for his bride, and she joined with Him and live as part of the community of his father’s family.
Given the character of human beings, we must all be judicious as to who we allow into our community, especially that community we call our family. Hence, our Father in heaven does not allow into His house those who will not accept His Son as their savior.
What we do in this life provides the basis for judgement. The test is simple. Have we accepted the grace of God? Have we obeyed His commandments to love God and each other?
In the Steps of William Wilberforce: Heroes Known and Unknown discusses one of the great men of history, William Wilberforce. Here, very briefly, is what that great man did.
Through actively engaging the public square, Wilberforce by the end of his life was able to end slavery in the British Empire and reform British morals, manners and had made Britain a much more civilized place which eventually led only a few years later to greater piety and respect for faith and ultimately Victorianism under Queen Victoria. (from here)
Great men and women do not succeed on their own. They succeed by the grace of God and because other good people join forces in community with them.