Scott Postma

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The Felt Need for Community

One sunny weekend, a pastor who had been faithful to preach nearly every Sunday of his 30-plus years of ministry found himself out of town and without a place to preach on Sunday.

He had attended a conference that ended Saturday, and since his flight home wasn’t scheduled until Monday, he had a notion to hit the local golf course, which just happened to be Pebble Beach.

He debated for a minute, struggling with the guilt of having bragged so many years that he never missed a Sunday at church while chiding others who had, but quickly resolved himself to playing 18 holes that morning, comforted with the fact no one would ever have to know.

At the same moment, there was another struggle taking place at the gates of Heaven. Satan was before the Lord accusing the pastor for his blatant hypocrisy and simultaneously accusing the Lord for going soft on such.

But the Lord was unmoved and responded simply “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Satan slithered off mumbling something about Job and the good ole’ days.

As the pastor finished the first hole, he knew it was going to be a good day on the fairways. He drove the ball over 300 yards, chipped it to the green, and one-putted for a birdie.

The following holes were tantamount until he teed off at the 17th. There he bounced a 200 yard drive right into the cup for a hole-in-one.

The pastor was ecstatic. It was already the best game of his life—and now a hole-in-one to boot!

Satan was beside himself. Fuming with indignation, he huffed up to the Lord, and ranted: “What is this? You said the Judge of all the earth would do right, and you’ve gone and blessed this hypocrite with the best game of his life! And, what? A hole-in-one for spite? I have half a mind to— What are you going to do about this?”

“Nothing,” the Lord said. “Who’s he going to tell?”

This humorous story reminds us life is unfulfilled disconnected from others. Thus social media like Facebook and Pinterest are so popular.

The way we feel when we get good news, achieve a special accomplishment, or face adversity is indicative of the fact we were created to live in community with others. We want people to rejoice with us, to stand with us, or in some cases just be there for us at special and difficult times in our lives.

The opposite is also true. When we hear news about our friends or neighbors, whether good or bad, we want to talk about it. We want to talk with them so we can hear it from their perspective. We want to talk to others about it to share the experience with someone new (granted this is unhealthy when reduced to sordid gossip).

Nevertheless, for good intentions or bad, the fact that we want to share life with others makes it plausible to intuit life was meant to be shared.

About Scott Postma

Scott lives in North Idaho collecting more books than he'll ever read in a lifetime. He helps people cultivate their capacity to perceive and appreciate the good, the true, and the beautiful by sharing rich insights into the arts and humanities, meaningful perspective on faith and culture, and valuable tips on writing and teaching. You can subscribe to the tribe and follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

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4 Replies

  1. Angela

    “When we hear news about our friends or neighbors, whether good or bad, we want to talk about it. We want to talk with them so we can hear it from their perspective.”

    If only the above quote from your post were the norm. Too often, even professing Christians hear ‘news’ about someone and make a serious judgment call, that can cause the hurting person to be sent into exile, without ever knowing why. Imagine that dreadful things are being spread around, and not one person contacts the lonely brunt of the rumors, to ask if they are true.
    What a tragedy it is, when harmful, hurtful things are spread through F/B, etc., and no one contacts the person being misaligned to ask if they may speak with them, I.E.-“I understand you may be struggling in an area…may I come over and pray with you…do you need some counsel…what may I do to help you become restored with those who are speaking evil about you?”
    The precious, priceless words in Psalm 133:1 become a distant dream for those who find themselves unwillingly on the wrong side of a division in their community. This should never occur, particularly not among our brothers & sisters in Christ. May we never knowingly leave a person outside of our community, or worse yet, force them out, and never tell them why. <

    1. Unfortunately, you’re right. It’s not the norm… Oh, how we need the gospel every. single. day.

  2. Gary Weinel

    Just a couple of quick thoughts on community. I was raised in main line protestant churches. I was saved in a charismatic church and went to a Mennonite Brethren Seminary. The greatest gift I learn from them at seminary and the Mennonite churches was about community! It is something all churches need. Community doesn’t just happen. It must be caught and taught. Community does not just have to be introverted either but also can be done through outreach. It is something that needs to be worked at like a close knit family. Out of community can come discipleship, accountability and growth (spiritually as well as church numbers). Here are a couple community scriptures I like. Psalm 133:1, John 13:34-35. Thanks for your many posts Scott. I look forward to reading them. Some are so thought provoking! I like that.

    1. Gary, You’re absolutely right to say “Community doesn’t just happen. It must be caught and taught.” Thanks for stopping by.