Blessings of Community

large flock of canada geese flying in silhouette at twilight, vertical frame

Geese teach us a lot about the blessings of living in community. There are aspects of their flying in a “V” formation that teaches us simple principles of caring for one another.  Because life started in a garden, I believe that nature was meant to teach us what God wants us to know about this important part of living.

 

“But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you. “Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you; And let the fish of the sea declare to you. “Who among all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?  In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.”  Job 12:7-10 NIV

Community is the Kingdom life that’s described throughout the Scriptures. I learn more every year about the importance of giving others emotional and spiritual support for their best life.

 

This is what we should learn about community from geese: 

As each goose flaps its wings it creates uplift for the birds that follow. By flying in a ‘V’ formation the whole flock adds 71 percent extra to the flying range.   By helping one another, each goose can achieve its goals. When a goose falls out of formation it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back to take advantage of the lifting power of the birds in front. It isn’t easy to try to make it without positive feedback and support.  We can achieve our goals in a village that will share the load. 

 

When a goose tires of flying up front it drops back into formation and another goose flies to the point position.  When a goose gets sick, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to the ground to help and protect it.  In community, we should protect each other.

 

The last important lesson that geese teach us is about encouraging one another.  Geese flying in formation ‘HONK’ to encourage those up front to keep up with their speed.  If you are already practicing these principles in your school, your church, your family and your community in general, then, you are a rich blessing to everyone around you. 

There is a new and interesting project developing in the small town of Hartville, Missouri that embodies these principles.  It’s called The Community Betterment Foundation.  “Our mission is to unite community organizations and leaders to create opportunities, make improvements to our communities, create programs that promote growth and leadership, provide advocacy, and encourage and inspire others.”  The Foundation has two major components: The Resource Center and Hope Landing Women’s Emergency Shelter and Recovery Center.

They offer business counseling/assistance, family advocacy, referrals to area resources, free classes & workshops, job-seeking assistance, private meeting space, and incubator office space.  Their program has step incentives to provide structure and help get individuals and families back on their feet so they can be a contributing part of the support network.  One family I’m working with is part of that network.  The mobile home they just moved into was surrounded by junk from the last several renters and so, supporters of the foundation were going to come in and help this family clean up the property to get it ready for the couple to reunify with their children who are in state custody. Families that are decimated with drugs and the bad choices that typically follow need ongoing assistance for a longer period of time while they get re-established.  Both parents of this family now have jobs and are becoming viable members of the community in which they live. Unoccupied buildings including a church were donated to this project by local people to get it started.  For more information about this project you can find it at: 

http://www.hartvilleareacc.com/community-resource-center.html

A project like this in a small community can only grow as others want to be a part of something that is making a difference in people’s lives.

Right now, you will see the Red Kettles around the area.  Your generosity in sharing how richly God has blessed you will help families all next year.  85% of the funds are kept here locally. If you would like to ring the bells, check with your local Salvation Army representative.  There will be lots of slots needing to be filled.  Keep in mind that programs that serve families need help throughout the year, not just during the holidays.

 

Thanksgiving is about being thankful and finding ways to express that as much as possible in our families and our communities. Because we believe that God can keep misfortunes from happening a.k.a answered prayers, possibly the purpose of them when they do happen is God giving us an opportunity to respond to the leading of his Spirit to be their answered prayer.  Our redemption is directly connected to acts of kindness. 

 “A rich landowner named Carl often rode around his vast estate so he could congratulate himself on his great wealth. One day while riding around his estate on his favorite horse, he saw Hans, an old tenant farmer. Hans was sitting under a tree when Carl rode by.  Hans said, ‘I was just thanking God for my food.’  Carl protested, ‘If that is all I had to eat, I wouldn’t feel like giving thanks.’ 

Hans replied, ‘God has given me everything I need, and I am thankful for it.’ 

The old farmer added, ‘It is strange you should come by today because I had a dream last night. In my dream a voice told me, ‘The richest man in the valley will die tonight.’ I don’t know what it means, but I thought I ought to tell you.’  Carl snorted, ‘Dreams are nonsense,’ and galloped away, but he could not forget Hans’ words: ‘The richest man in the valley will die tonight.’ He was obviously the richest man in the valley, so he invited his doctor to his house that evening. Carl told the doctor what Hans had said. After a thorough examination, the doctor told the wealthy landowner, ‘Carl, you are as strong and healthy as a horse. There is no way you are going to die tonight.’ Nevertheless, for assurance, the doctor stayed with Carl, and they played cards through the night. The doctor left the next morning and Carl apologized for becoming so upset over the old man’s dream. At about nine o’clock, a messenger arrived at Carl’s door. ‘What is it?’ Carl demanded. The messenger explained, ‘It’s about old Hans. He died last night in his sleep.’”    Author Unknown

 

 “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.  This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.”  II Cor 9:11-12 NIV

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Published in the Thanksgiving issue of the Mountain Grove News Jo

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