|I was switching channels to a local news broadcast,
but ended up watching a rerun of a black and white Andy Griffith Show.
How refreshing. In a half hour, the fictional citizens of Mayberry pulled
their resources together to try to keep an unemployed neighbor’s family
from eviction. The wise sheriff thought that well, maybe, the banker didn’t
realize how mean he was. So the sheriff proceeded to act meaner than the
mean-hearted banker. In the conclusion of the show, the mean-hearted banker
stopped the foreclosure proceedings. To top off his change of heart, the
banker gave the man a job.
Wouldn’t you like to live in a community like that? Wouldn’t you like your children to grow up to create communities like that? “Some people say that is entirely unrealistic. How boring to have people be good people who do good things,” the anonymous “they” say. I say, if that is boring, bring it on!
Personally, I’d like to live in a Mayberry-like community where people look after one another and the name of God is spoken with respect. I’d like to see the miracle of hard-hearted people learning compassion. I’d like to go to a wedding with the reasonable expectation that the couple will celebrate their fiftieth anniversary together if they live long enough. I’d like to see every child born into a family with a mother and a father who have made a commitment to each other and their children.
I would like to listen to good news for a change. Israelis and Palestinians rebuilding the land given to Abraham instead of killing each other. I’d like to see in special news breaks that schools and hospitals are being built; farms are being cultivated; and every person, every nation finding ways to make life easier for everyone else.
I would like to hear that a philanthropist had employed every unemployed person and had given them a living wage instead of taking their factories to countries where they can pay children pennies a day to produce goods so they can buy another empire for themselves.
Would that really be boring? Ask the man with six children at home whose job just went south—literally. (Is anyone besides me wondering who is going to buy these products when the middle class is a memory?)
In the following Scriptures, God gives us instruction in how to build community:
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:12-14NIV)
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:1-4NIV)
The only way that community can be built is by people committing to build that community, one person at a time, one heart change at a time. Will you be one of those people?
By Scarlett Stough