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3 Ways Community Keeps Us Needy and Why That Is a Good Thing

Our families need community. But true friendship requires much of us... and that's a good thing! Here's what to expect in the give and take and why it all matters.“Where’s my jacket?” my eleven-year-old daughter asked. There was panic in her voice.

She frantically darted around our hotel room. First, she checked the closet. Next, our suitcases. Then, near the door.

“I’m not sure,” I responded. “I don’t remember seeing it this morning.”

Outwardly, I tried to remain calm. Inwardly, I panicked.

This wasn’t just any jacket. It was a special jacket.

For the last seven months, she’d traveled the country on the national tour of a Tony-Award winning musical. This tour exclusive jacket was a gift she’d received from the producers on opening night. She’d worn it constantly ever since.

It’d been with her in Chicago, San Jose, Spokane, Fort Worth, Miami, West Point, and around 76 other cities in between. What started as a meaningful gift, was now a constant in her daily travels and represented months of memories.

Now, at 6:30 a.m. in our hotel room somewhere in Virginia, her tour jacket was nowhere to be found.

Her face grew suddenly pale. “I think I left it at the restaurant last night!”

If we’d been staying in town just a few hours longer, this wouldn’t be a problem. But we weren’t. We had to be on the company bus, headed to Tennessee, within the hour.

We reluctantly left town without her jacket, unsure whether we’d ever see it again.

The loss devastated my daughter. And, even though I promised to do everything in my power to find it from a distance, I was riddled by guilt. Why hadn’t I been more aware of its whereabouts the night before?

As with all the best tales, though, despair and loss isn’t the end of our story.

Community came to our rescue. Thanks to my husband, one of his coworkers, and this coworker’s cousin who happened to live in that particular city in Virginia, her jacket safely arrived in the mail this week.

What does her lost-and-found jacket remind me about community? Here are three things.

3 Ways Community Keeps Us Needy and Why That’s a Good Thing

1. True community requires give and take

It’s often difficult for me to ask for help. I don’t mind inconveniencing myself to help someone else. What I do mind is asking someone else for help. I don’t want to be a burden.

But here’s the thing about any relationship within community, it’s meant to be a two-way exchange. It’s not really community if I help others, but refuse to let them help me too.

True community requires that I not only give, but I also take.

2. True community demands dependency on others

If I could have retrieved the jacket on my own, I would have. But I couldn’t.

The “take” of community means I have to admit my need for others. It goes beyond simply not wanting to inconvenience others. It requires that I humbly acknowledge I’m not self-sufficient and I wasn’t created to be. God made me to depend on Him and on others.

True community requires my dependency on God and others.

3. True community points to God’s active care

What were the chances that someone we knew had a relative in that exact city? Not only that, but a relative who was willing to drive to this restaurant, pick up her jacket, and pay the cost of getting it to us? If we had to lose her jacket, this was the perfect city. Only God could have orchestrated such details.

True community points me to God’s active care.

For years to come, my daughter’s tour jacket will likely remind me of a city somewhere in Virginia and how community came to our rescue. And, as it does, I’ll remember that true community keeps me needy … and that, well, it’s a very good thing.


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  1. Our “neediness” with respect to our one God-imparted destiny to exist in final consummate communion with Him forever is not just immense, it is absolute. We live here on earth for one purpose which is the establishment within each of us of a vulnerability to God which becomes absolutely perfect in nature. This is no mere vulnerability in our Christian or religious beliefs but is the establishment within us of consummate vulnerability to God Himself. It is the completeness of our communion with God which will ultimately determine and define the genuineness and validity of our convictions and our religious expression for each one of us, but only if we allow. To the extent that we do not, our convictions and expression will be defined by other forces not friendly to us or to God and will lead us into useless and destructive scrupulosity. We can facilitate entry into our intended destiny with God by taking upon ourselves the disposition of attendant personal and intimate worship of God but we are perfectly incapable of the accomplishment of that destiny except that God accomplishes it within us which He surely will. Our actual state here on earth can therefore be understood to be a state of genuine destitution no matter what other wealth or means of well being we may believe we have at our disposal. This is not a state of being brought about by our insufficiency because of sin, but by a true comparison of us to the absolute magnificence of the unfathomable God who seeks to embrace each one of us so passionately and relentlessly. This why in literally every interaction we have with God in our life here on earth, He has designed to encourage us to embrace our absolute poverty with respect, not only the things of genuine substance in our lives but to Him. It could rightly be said that He takes this disposition toward us so that we can finally be set free to receive the true magnificent riches of a life lived in selfless communion with Him and for one purpose which is to please Him alone. If there is actual value in the conduct of our lives, this is the source from which it arises.

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