Till He Comes . . . We're Stronger Together
On February 16, 2017, Mark Zuckerberg head of Facebook published a manifesto on the need to build a global community. He said, "Membership in all kinds of groups has declined as much as one-quarter. That's a lot of people who now need to find a sense of purpose and support somewhere else."
It is true; If we don't belong to any intimate communities, we feel lonely and alienated. The covid-19 pandemic has exponentially pushed the world toward distant relationships.
"As they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. He said. Therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come" (Luke 19:11-13KJV).
Jesus is telling this parable to teach us something about the kingdom of God. Many of them thought the physical kingdom of God was going to start right then in Jerusalem. We know it was the spiritual kingdom that was beginning and that Jesus was calling his Church (Ekklesia), his congregation, his body, out of the world to a particular purpose.
Jesus, like the nobleman in the story, was calling his servants together and telling them to "occupy till I come."
Jesus gave us instructions, We all have heard until we probably have it memorized, to go and make disciples of all nations, WIN, BUILD, and SEND.
A friend of mine put the instructions this way; our purpose is to CONNECT TO GOD, CONNECT TO EACH OTHER, and CONNECT TO THE WORLD.
To me, that is much less intimidating. Connecting sounds much more comfortable than preaching the gospel and making disciples of all nations.
We are in the most connected time in history, yet we seem to be living in the most unconnected.
We may have virtual connections all over the world, but at the expense of real connection.
"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10 NKJV).
In this pandemic, he is doing all three. The one that is the most damaging to the church is to steal our community.
The church is an assembly of people called together, called out of the general population for a particular purpose. Jesus said: "On this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" Matthew 16:18 NKJV. I will build my assembly of my people called together for my purpose. The devil has tried to rob this.
The more we use the internet, the more isolated we become.
We can have all kinds of meetings online, and we can watch services from around the world, but we must have community in our lives. We must be a part of something where we can be with believers:
Who will connect with us,
Who will talk with us, Who will agree with us,
Who pray with us.
"And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near" (Hebrews 10:25 NLT).
"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT).
There are some things you will never learn on your own. You can only learn them in the community. of others.
You can only learn forgiveness in relationships.
You can only learn loyalty in relationships
You can only learn love in relationships.
You can't learn faithfulness without others.
We help each other grow. I help you grow. You help me grow.
"Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near" (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV).
The writer must have had prophetic insight when he referred to the "day of Lord drawing near," Indicating that this may be the culture of the church in the End times.
It is easier not to meet. I'm more comfortable staying at home.
It is easier not to go to the grocery store.
I don't have to go to the clothing store.
I don't have to go to a restaurant. I just call, and they deliver.
I love AMAZON and Inta-cart and all the rest.
It is easy to stay home, so why go to church?
Why, when I can order up my favorite preacher online 24/7. It is free.
Don't have to get the kids up.
Do have to smile at that person I don't like.
Don't have to serve in the nursery.
Now I work online, go to school online, get my grocery's online, and order my meals online. I play games online, have friends online, watch sports online, and I Zoom online,
HALLELUJAH! Church online, anytime, anywhere. I can sit on the beach, watch my church! Now that is living!
But, we are Stronger and Better Together. We cannot forget this.
Psalm 100, "I was glad when they said unto me let's go into the house of the Lord."