Commonality engenders community. We see it in the gospels – the 2 blind men, the 10 lepers, the 2 demoniacs. They banded together in their common weakness, in their common struggle. No one could understand the substance of their existence in quite the same way as a fellow sufferer.
We all tend to gravitate towards those we have things in common with. It is with these people that we most enjoy sharing our time and sharing our lives. This just seems to be a principle of human nature.
As a Christian, I do find great joy in fellowship with other believers. But people are people, and even among believers there is the inevitability of finding certain brothers or sisters who “rub our fur backwards”. A few experiences with those who are emotionally needy or constantly engulfed in some sort of drama is enough to send me on a search for a solitary place in the wilderness where I can hibernate.
Most times, if given my preference I would prefer to be alone. Away from people’s problems and needs. Just me and Jesus – that suits me fine. But in my solitude, whose life am I pouring into? Who am I allowing to pour their life into me? The early church met daily. They shared meals together, prayed together, had Bible study together. The early church was an environment of community; helping each other, loving each other and sharing their lives with each other.
I struggle with this singular-ness often, many times justifying my excessive solitude because my activities are so spiritual. After all, what’s wrong with preferring Bible study and prayer to socializing?
What it all comes down to for me is selfishness. I want to spend my time on the things I enjoy, and I don’t always enjoy dealing with people. But Jesus died for the people and I am to love the people
CONCLUSION: Community must no longer be sacrificed for the sake of comfort.