AAC Women's Blog

Do We Really Need Each Other

Do We Really Need Each Other

There’s an old riddle I’ve heard circulated in Christian circles for years. It asks, “Can you serve God without serving people?”

Toss on your philosopher’s cap and you can debate this question ‘til your brain goes numb. But since I kind of like my brain to operate at full capacity, I prefer to take a shortcut through Scripture.

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:34–35, NLT).

Recently one of my Bible study groups discussed what it means to be committed to one another. How much time should we spend together? What does it look like to speak the truth in love? In today’s pandemic culture, how do we apply the Bible’s admonishment to “not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25, NLT)?

Well, let’s answer those questions with more questions.

What if Jesus were to return to Earth today? Would He find us loving, praying, and encouraging other people? I’m talking about all those verses in the Bible known as the “one-anothers”—the stuff God calls us to do for our fellow humans.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another…” (Ephesians 4:32)

“Live in harmony with one another…” (Romans 12:16)

“…Instruct one another.” (Romans 15:14)

“…Pray for each other.” (James 5:16)

“Carry each other’s burdens…” (Galatians 6:2)

“…Spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)

And that’s just scratching the surface. The New Testament records 59 different verses that reference how we are to conduct ourselves toward “one another”. The command to “love one another” is especially prevalent, repeated 15 times in six books. Do you think God wants us to care about other people?

Yes. He does.

Especially now that we’re physically isolated. Because the day of His return is still drawing near.

You could say those words were written 2,000 years ago, so they can’t possibly apply anymore. I mean, what does “near” mean, anyway? 

But the Bible says to God one thousand years is like a day (2 Peter 3:8). His return has never been closer.

Sadly, our current circumstances—this virus, our isolation—haven’t necessarily shifted our focus back to God and His call to experience Him in the company of believers. If anything, isolation tempts us to neglect other people simply because fellowship isn’t a part of our normal routine anymore.

I can still run through a busy day from my home office, scrambling toward deadlines, tossing dinner in the Instant Pot, managing the kids’ homework situation, even deep-diving into my own personal Bible study before flipping on Netflix in a blur of exhaustion before bed. And the only people I’ll have fellowshipped with—or even thought about in any given 24-hour period—are the ones living under my own roof.

What if Jesus shows up in the middle of that? It’s so easy to believe I just don’t have time for “meeting together” (whether virtually or by prayer or picking up the stinking phone) with believers outside my immediate family—and even then, I’m a little irked I have to feed and clothe those people some days. Amiright?

Yet Jesus says it’s not my productivity or my accomplishments or even my love for Him that will show the world I’m a Christ follower. It’s my love for other people.

And love goes hand-in-hand with serving, because it’s a verb. It’s a thing we do, not just a thing we feel.

So let’s revisit the question, “Can you serve God without serving people?”

No. Not in the truest sense.

Pastor talked about it in our recent Fire Away service. We need to be with people. We need to experience corporate worship. When the gates open up again and the virus no longer threatens, we need to be willing to return to church and Bible studies and fellowship groups where real people meet with real people face to face. 

And meanwhile? When the doors are closed? We can remember those others still exist. We can pray for them. Text them. Ding-dong-ditch them a meal on the doorstep. It’s how we were designed, to be in relationship with one another just as God—in whose image we exist—is and always has been in relationship with Himself, the Trinity, Father-Spirit-Son.

I’ll never forget the way Pastor Brian explained fellowship in a sermon on community. He pointed out that in the beginning, Adam was alone—which God declared was “not good” (Genesis 2:18). Keep in mind, sin hadn’t yet entered the world, therefore the man enjoyed a perfect, unbroken relationship with God—plus He worked with and for God, naming the animals (Genesis 2:19–20). {That means he was serving God! Are you getting the picture?} Yet God still described Adam as alone—and called it not good.

Adam needed the one-anothers in order for his life to be good.

And so do we. Because something vital happens when we open ourselves up to others.

We see more of God.

“For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” (Matthew 18:20, NLT)

Yes, the pandemic is crummy. Isolation hurts even as winter looms and lockdown becomes our norm. Yet my prayer for all of us is that we won’t allow our isolated circumstances to create apathy toward the necessity of seeking others and worshipping together, even when the traditional ways of fellowship aren’t an option. 

Community—whatever that looks like in this crazy season—is worthwhile, not only for our sake but also for God’s. We serve Him best when we serve His children. And that is a pursuit worth our time, energy, sacrifice and praise.

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About the Author: Becky Kopitzke

Becky Kopitzke is the author of The SuperMom Myth: Conquering the Dirty Villains of Motherhood and the upcoming Generous Love: Discover the Joy of Living “Others First.” Becky lives in lovely northeast Wisconsin with her husband and their two daughters, where her home office is overrun with bouncy balls and tween craft supplies. For weekly, keeping-it-real encouragement, visit Becky’s blog.

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