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People Who Need People

January 19th, 2009

“They committed themselves to . . life together..” Acts 2:42 The Message

“The great effect of salvation is the restoring of the human heart for community – a sense of belonging and serving.”

My thoughts today are about “people who need people.”

In the Broadway play, Funny Girl, Barbara Streisand sang People Who Need People, (Jule Styne/Bob Merrill) which became her signature song. She touched a truth in the human heart deeper than she knew when she sang these words, “People, people who need people are the luckiest people in the world. We’re children, needing other children, and yet letting our grown-up pride hide all the need inside. Acting more like children than children.”

Those lyrics resonate within every human heart, because they echo a truth God established at the beginning when the Creator declared, “It is not good that man should be alone. I will make a companion who will help him.” Genesis 2:18 NLT. The great effect of salvation is the restoring of the human heart for community – a sense of belonging and serving.

You fail to thrive when apart from others. You were not made for isolation and independence; those are products of what theologians call fallenness, a spiritual separation from the Creator and others He created. You are then less than you could have been, because you are deprived of what others contribute to your sense of wholeness and well being, as you are absent from your contributing to them. Contributing to the common good is an essential part of your feeling worthwhile and that your life holds meaning.

Meaningful relationship is a continuing thread that runs throughout the Bible. The work of reconciliation is certainly relating your life back to God righteously, but also rightly relating your life to others. Sin is what separates – separates you from God, separates you from others, and leaves a brokenness within yourself.

The description of the New Testament believers can best be traced by the myriad of ways their life together requires the words, “one another,” such as “love one another . . forgive one another . . edify one another . . serve one another . . comfort one another . . preferring one another . . bear one another’s burdens,” etc. Those early believers understood that their lives were completed by right relationships with each other, as well as righteous relationship with God.

You may be tempted to go it alone sometimes, but it will never be best. See Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV. You may seek to protect yourself from inevitable hurts by keeping your emotional distance, but the pain of loneliness will be greater than the risk of closeness. Realistically, life together cannot practically encompass an unlimited number – it was never meant to – but the smaller the circle with which you are willing to truly share life, the less significant and diverse the benefits of enduring friendships.

And notice the context of this “life together” Christ-followers enjoyed, “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42 NAS. They were learning together, eating together, praying together, and praying for one another. Meaningful life together starts, continues, and ends with Jesus. See Romans 11:36 NLT.

My prayer for you is this: remember you complete others, and are incomplete without them.

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