When you think of the word community what comes to mind? Most people would say that it is the area that you live in which, of course, is a correct answer. This word came to mind as I was preparing to make remarks at my god-daughter’s dedication this past weekend. As I was looking through definitions I came across one that stuck out to me. The second definition in the Oxford dictionary says “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. “ there was a note under that definition that said “joint ownership or liability.” In the same way that we have HOA’s with a common mindset of keeping our physical communities safe, comfortable, and looking nice, we have to have that same mindset for our spiritual community. It is all of our responsibility to support each other and be prayerful for each other because when one of us gets weak, it is the job of the community to help hold that person up. I’m reminded of the story in Exodus 17 when the Amalekites attack the Israelites. The Israelites sent out some troops to fight but Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of a nearby hill. The Bible says as long as Moses held up his staff, the Israelites had the advantage in battle. As you can imagine, this is not an easy task to just keep your arms extended for a long period of time, and Moses, understandably, began to get tired. The Bible says that Aaron and Hur sat him on a rock and they held his hands up until the Israelites prevailed over he Amalekites. Aaron and Hur realized that the success of their community was contingent on their support of an individual member. That is the mentality we should have in our church community, be someone’s accountability partner or prayer partner and make sure that they are supported where they are weak.
As I close I wanted to add some more context to the definition of community. This word stems from the root word in Latin communis which means “common.” Also from that root word comes the word communion. Of course we know about the act of taking communion as remembrance of Christ giving his life for us, but another definition is the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially on a mental or spiritual level. As we wrap up I urge you to find community to connect with on a more intimate level. Don’t just go to church and leave when it is over, but engage. Join groups or even work in ministry so that there is connection on a deeper level than acquaintances that we see once or twice a week. This can be challenging for men and especially in the church because we often internalize things and stay to ourselves. But the same way that the Bible speaks of iron sharpening iron, having other men of God that support you can make all of the difference in the way you handle your battles.