This past week at church, I started by talking a bit about our love for lone ranger characters. We love James Bond, Batman, Chuck Norris, Liam Neeson in “Taken.” We love these characters who have the skills and ability to take on the world all by themselves, without a need for backup or support of any kind. The challenge is that many of us look at our lives the same way. We believe that to seek help, to think that we are in need to anyone else, suggests weakness.
In Ecclesiastes 4, there is this somber note, almost of mourning, for those who don’t have people in their life who can pick them up when they are down. These are also people who can sit alongside you on a tough day and give some perspective. Often when we are challenged we naturally either over generalize (the world is out to get me, everyone thinks this way, it will always be like this), or minimize that which makes us uncomfortable (those five co-workers who say I’m mean and bossy are just jealous, I am fine). Another impactful illustration for our need for community is proverbs 27:17: “Iron sharpens iron, and one friend sharpens another.”
We hear in both these places in scripture that we are created to be in community. You are created to have people who can speak authentically and clearly into your life, to give your perspective, to help you become the kind of person God is calling you to be. Most of you won’t disagree that we need people like that, but few of us have those people, or lean into those people as the passage suggests. Who is your authentic community? Who sharpens you, who picks you up? Who helps you walk the journey of faith? These passages don’t suggest that this is an optional part of our faith, but a key thing that all disciples of Jesus have, and invite others to be part of.