Almost two years ago, I was living in Tuscaloosa as a graduate student. Even though I moved to campus to attend school, all my classes ended up being online. Meeting people was a little limited at the time, due to the fact I wasn’t attending classes in-person, and it was still during the pandemic. Thankfully, I lived right across the street from a church, where I met other college students on campus. While I was one of the only graduate students in our group, it was sweet to spend time with ladies who poured into me and encouraged me in my circumstances.
When I wasn’t at the church during small group or worship, I was mostly at my apartment, a coffee shop, or a park. I spent a lot of my time alone during that season, which allowed me to not only get to know myself better, but also to get to know God better.
God continues to show me that community may look different in every season. After realizing the importance of community during my college years, I have always tried to find it in the places I go to. Community is not only about building friendships, but it can also be about serving and helping those around you.
We were given a beautiful picture of what community looks like with a body of believers in Acts 2:
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. – Acts 2:42-47
The Lord shows us this picture of community to place an importance on how we should live with each other. We should build one another up, carry each other’s burdens, share the gospel around us, and help those in need. We should put an importance on those that we spend our time with because Jesus showed us a similar example with His disciples.
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” – Matthew 26:26-29
Jesus spent time with His disciples and cherished them. He knew how unique each one of them was and knew how His relationships with them would end. However, He spent time just with His disciples when He could to paint a picture of community and fellowship for us. The love and time that He devotes to His disciples and those around Him teaches us to devote our times to eternal treasures, the people around us and their walk with Christ.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21
Community, friendships, and fellowship may look different in every season. It may be easy for you to find other believers around you. Or it may be challenging depending on the current life circumstances. However, when we start to realize that God is doing all things for our good, we can trust that He will plant those individuals that we need in our lives, whether that’s one person or 12 people. It’s our job to be intentional with those people, to put effort into those relationships, and to invite those people into our lives. We also are to serve where we feel called to serve.
Maybe, you find yourself in a season where you are not surrounded by the community you wish you had. Or are about to move soon so building community where you are is not on the to-do list. I encourage you to use this time in getting to know the Lord even more. When we learn more about our Creator, we can grasp more understanding of how to love not only Him, but also His creation, including ourselves.
Store up treasures that you find in this season.