Our daughter has been studying marine life community in her science class. I have spent some time discussing these concepts with her. This past week the Lord brought me face to face with real life community...you know the kind of community that you can trust. It started with a desperate plea from our 15 year old to run a forgotten football jersey and 2 leftover steak sandwiches to the field house. (If you ever come to my house and it isn't clean, you know it is because I am always running things to my kids)! After dropping off the desired items, I was heading out of the parking lot. While I was waiting to pull out onto the road, I saw my oldest son's best friend pull into the parking lot. This child is like one of my own, and I haven't spent very much time with him as of late. I rolled down my window and told him supper was on the stove and he was welcome to come out and eat with us. He smiled and said he might. When I arrived back home, I quickly checked my email. There was an email from the father of the child that I had just invited out to the house. We are dear friends with these people, although we do not spend lots of time together due to schedule issues. He was overseas with his wife, and he wanted my husband to talk with their son about college. Apparently the young man hasn't been very happy with college and this father felt helpless being so far from the situation. I quickly called the child on his cell phone and told him that he was required to come out to the house for supper....I wanted to talk with him. Shortly after the phone call, the young man arrived at our home. He spent the evening with me talking and eating. To be honest, I don't know if he will follow my advice, but I do know that out of relationship he was willing to listen. We have spent the last 6 or 7 years building relationship with this young man. He is just as much a part of our family as our son is a part of their family.
When my dad was dying, our son came to Ky. to visit. Michael was suppose to take him back home at the end of the weekend. Michael needed to get back to work and Matthew needed to get back to school. My dad was so bad that Michael just couldn't leave his side. He called the father of Matthew's best friend and told him the situation. The father offered to drive 6 hours one way to pick up Matthew and take him back home. Michael met him half way to make the drive shorter for him. This family kept Matthew for the month and treated him as one of their own while we were in Kentucky with my dad.
Both of our families are Christian, although we are different denominations. We don't see eye to eye on everything concerning doctrine, but we do see eye to eye on everything concerning Jesus. We get together about twice a year to fellowship. I can't say we are best friends because we don't spend enough time together, but I know we are family...we are brothers and sisters in Christ. This bond transcends so many differences. We are there for one another...no matter the cost, especially where our children are concerned. Our church in Florida called this type of relationship a covenant. Although the language is different here in Tennessee, the meaning is the same. I have several of these types of relationships sprinkled throughout my life. I believe the Lord wants us to live like this. Along with helping one another, accountability is also another factor. Accountability comes with relationship. I could hold the young man accountable because I knew him. I could say things to him that someone who did not know him could never say to him. I had a point of reference with him that a stranger did not have. I also had his heart. Therefore, I could speak truth in love to him without offending him. The truth I spoke might have made him mad, but he knew without a doubt that I loved him.
What does Community look like to you?
grace and peace,