Hebrews 10:24-25 (NKJV)
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another and so much the more as you see the day approaching.”
Have you ever noticed how many things around you are based on the past? Did you ever hear that these are our traditions, our heritage, or even that this is the way things have always been done? What about perceptions that are placed on different places or even certain people because of where they are from or just how they look?
No matter where we grew up or what our family may have looked like, we have been affected by this to some degree throughout our lives. Some of us may have grown up in places that haven’t changed since our earliest memories while others have seen things change drastically for the good and the bad. No matter which category we fit into we still have to decide how we let this affect our future.
I grew up and live in an area that had a rich history during the industrial age of our country. People of all nationalities came together to work hard and raise families in these communities that were filled with all sorts of small businesses. I can remember the area seemed to have it’s own identity linked the people who lived here and the traditions they celebrated.
As the years went by everything has changed. The industry that built this area has almost disappeared, people moved away for opportunities elsewhere, and the older generations continued to pass away. The area still has a deep sense of tradition, but there are scars visible with the vacant businesses, empty houses, and the remnants of industrial history in the landscape that surrounds us.
Each one of us may have a similar story, but the scars we see around us may be even more prominent or not exist at all. The sad fact is that most times we can’t really say how certain things happened, but if these small things don’t affect us we may not even realize it. Far too often we are focused on what we need for ourselves and our families that we don’t notice, or the way things have been done for years is so comfortable that you don’t want to change it.
This is how it is in our lives when we get set in our ways or fall into a familiar routine. Going to work, going to school, activities with your family, just hanging with friends, or anything in life can settle into a pattern where we don’t realize what goes on outside of our little box.
Then unless you have an interest in history, most of us probably haven’t thought about how it affects us. I am sure you have heard variations of the quote, “those who don’t learn from the past or from history are condemned to repeat it.” This is true on so many levels when we make changes for the future, but we cannot just get stuck in the past living on the nostalgia of the glory days long gone.
Even though our areas may have declined or we may not be in the best situation, we have moved into modern times as the rest of the world, but there still can be a lingering perception that remains. We sometimes get judged by where we come from or what we look like without people knowing who we really are. It’s not fair and we may not like it, but how often have we done the same thing?
When we do this we are not only losing sight of the value in others, we are losing sight of the value we have in ourselves. We may know how it feels to be that person who is being looked down on or dismissed, yet there are times we could end up doing the same thing. A person on the street wearing dirty clothes, a person driving an old car that billows smoke, or even just a neighborhood where you see trash piled outside the buildings. All have value even though we may not see it.
I know that I have not only changed how I see things, but also how I interact with people and situations around me now. I made greater strides in all areas since I began following the example that Jesus set for us. Christ did not look down on anyone who needed help, He instead reached out to them no matter where they were. He showed everyone around Him the love that He spoke about and remained true to that message.
When we follow what we are taught in the Bible we soon look at everything around us differently. We look past the scars that may be there to see the value. As we do this, we must remember that people are not the only ones who may have scars. All our communities no matter how affluent has scars, some are just hidden better under the surface. This is why we cannot lose sight of the value in community either.
You can see it on the news and on social media how communities come together for a cause or to rally around something that happened, but far too often many positive stories don’t find their way to the surface. This requires us to come together to make positive things happen. Not just to vent our frustrations or put oil on the loudest squeak, but to plan changes that make reasonable sense for all.
When the people gathered together with Jesus He not only healed and counseled them, but He taught scripture and they worshiped the Father as well. As we fellowship with each other we can find new direction and purpose for our church and community. Jesus reminds us of this in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
The early church dealt with similar issues with the perceptions of Jews versus Gentile, Israel versus Galatia or Macedonia. But Paul gave a good reminder in Romans 15:5-6, “Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Let us gather in fellowship with the Lord and find the value in each of us and our communities. Join me in coming together to use His strength and guidance to forge a new path for ourselves and all those in our communities around us. Now also please enjoy “Community Value(s)” Part I.
COMMUNITY VALUE(S) (PART I)
Most everything we see around us is a tribute to the past,
We can try to hold onto it even though it may not last.
As we move forward into the future we still must not forget,
Where we have been defines us and should not be lost in regret.
Far too often we spend our time addressing the greatest demand,
Instead of asking if it is reasonable or if what we need is on hand.
If we are looking to the Father for the answers that we seek,
Then we must follow where He leads us even when we feel weak.
When we gather with others in worship and sing to Him our praises,
We receive strength from those around us and see the possibilities He raises.
Thank Him for the blessings received and share with others your story,
So that they can also find the Father’s love and come to know His glory.
No matter where you are throughout the day remember to shine His light,
Fore there is darkness wherever we go no matter if it’s morning or night.
We are worth more when we come together showing our faith and trust,
And even when we may not be able to see it, there is value in each of us.
Simple Faith Christian