Trivia question - what was the first “problem” that ever existed in the world? The first dilemma that man had to solve?
a) Rush hour traffic
b) Long lines at the DMV
d) Loneliness and lack of relationship
If you guessed D, you are correct!
Look no further than the second chapter in the Bible and you’ll see that before there were wars and disasters and violence and diseases – all the things that came as a result of sin – there was another problem...LONELINESS.
“And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone.” (Genesis 2:18)
Keep in mind that at the time, everything was good in the world. No problems. No pain. No sickness. No unemployment. No fighting. No construction on the Beltway during rush hour. Everything was just "good".
God created the heavens and the earth and it was good. God created the sun and the moon and the stars and it was good. God created the trees and the mountains and the valleys and the oceans and it was all good. God even created all the animals – including rats and spiders and all the creepy crawly things that we can’t stand – and even they were good too!
You name it, it was good.
And it got even more good (aka better), when on the 6th day God created His masterpiece – MAN! God made man in in His image and according to His likeness. And after He had done that, the Creator looked over all His creation and the Bible says:
“Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was VERY GOOD.” (Genesis 1:31)
Good. Good. Good. Good. Good. VERY good. That was how creation went.
So where did “not good” come from in Genesis 2:18? If everything was created as either “good” or “very good”, how could there all of a sudden be a situation that is “not good”?
The answer = loneliness, or lack of relationship. It was/is “not good” for man to be ALONE. Adam was lonely. He desired a companion like him. Even though he had a strong relationship with God, he still lacked something. He lacked a deep relationship with someone like him.
Does that problem still exist today? YOU BET IT DOES! More than ever before!
I don’t know why but it seems like the more and more our society advances technologically and intellectually, the further behind we fall relationally and interpersonally. We have hundreds of “friends” and “followers” and “tweeps,” yet we’re always alone and wishing for companionship.
In other words, we stink at relationships! We stink at friendships. We are good at knowing a lot ABOUT one another (usually told in 140 characters or less), but we stink at really knowing each other at a deep level – something beyond the superficial “hi, how are you, how’s life” level.
And I’m not talking about dating and marriage and those kinds of relationships (yes, we may stink at those as well but let’s save that for another time). I’m talking about regular, good old fashioned friendships – the kind that David had with Jonathon, Ruth had with Naomi, or that Dylan had with Brandon.
(sorry, I confess, I am a former Beverly Hills 90210-aholic. If you grew up in the early 90s, you know you were too!)
We know many people; but we don’t have many real friends. Is that how God planned it?
I don’t think so. In God’s plan, being “alone” is not good – not good at all. God’s plan was for us to first have depth in our relationship with Him, and then find depth in our relationship with one another. If either of those two is missing, something’s not right…or rather…not good.
That’s why we make a big deal out of “community” at STSA. It’s one of the three pillars upon which we operate: EXTREME LOVE, ANCIENT FAITH, REAL COMMUNITY. We stress on the fact that we were not created to live in isolation but rather in fellowship – fellowship with one another as members of the same Body. Or simply put…community.
Now the question is, how do we create that community? I’d love to hear your thoughts. I know what I think and what I see from my perspective, but I’d love to get some more thoughts from different angles. So…
For discussion: what are some ways that the Church today can create/develop a sense of community for her members?
The best answer (as subjectively determined by me) will get a SHOUT OUT on my blog later this week. Comment below to submit your response.