Devotion: God's Heart For Community

“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you-that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” Romans 1:11-12

God plants people in neighborhoods, houses (resident dwellings), careers, jobs, and communities. God has a heart for community. Therefore, He had this in mind when He wrote on the tablet of your heart the purpose for your life. He decided where and when He would plant you like a seed on this earth. He is a Sovereign God. What does that mean? It means there is nothing that escapes His eye for detail. There is no plan He forgot or neglected to make. He is ever mindful of the course of your life. You can take great Comfort and Confidence in this. I am hoping I communicate encouragement to you if you are in a job that stresses you severely, or maybe you don’t like your neighborhood or have a neighbor who is difficult to live near. God has planted you there- if only for a season. You have been chosen to be a light to that community, whatever it is.

We are blessed with incredible neighbors. I can see the hand of God at work in my neighborhood and our purpose for being placed there. Just a few weeks ago my daughter began college. She is a bright young lady and was awarded almost her full tuition in academic scholarships at the University she chose to attend. However, at the beginning of the year we came across some confusion and mishap that delayed her scholarship money from going through to the financial aid office at the school. She received notification after the first week that she would have to pay up or ship out. All week we worked to correct the mistake. I kept encouraging my daughter that it would be fine, but no matter what, God has a plan. I reminded her that nothing happens without there being a reason, a lesson and value to gain by the experience. She is such a strong young woman, she was upset, but agreed with me. She had great faith it would turn about.

One evening that week my husband and I agreed we needed to cross the street to speak with our neighbor about this situation for she is person of great influence and former regent to the school. She knows our daughter, but she doesn’t “know” her, so she asked a great deal of questions before agreeing to speak on our behalf. It just so happened she was meeting with the President of the University that following morning and agreed to petition for correction on our daughters behalf. By mid morning that day we had the “head” of financial aid as well as the President’s office calling to help us sort out the situation. This was an occasion where we were grateful for God’s help to us, with the help of our neighbor. I kind of wondered at first, why all the mishap? But I feel there is a bigger reason that maybe we don’t know yet. Maybe God is building the relationship between our family and our neighbor? Maybe He is watering the soil, seasoning the atmosphere, at the college to open doors for my daughter down the road? We don’t know why, but God does.

What about when you struggle with your neighbor? Your boss? Do you live in a neighborhood that is maybe less than you desire? Do not allow yourself to be overly discouraged. Consider it a high honor that God has chosen you to be a source of encouragement to your neighbor, neighborhood, your coworkers and employers or employees. You do not know what chaos resides in their private life. You do not know how your life may be adding a little light to their life even if they never tell you. You may be God’s instrument of Hope to someone who has never seen Hope on legs before. Whatever the purpose, God has one. Ask the Lord to strengthen you to be the best neighbor, employee, coworker, etc. you can be. God will reward your good efforts. He has planted you there with great purpose.