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THE IDEAL COMMUNITY

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by Pastor Don Nagy

 

Do you ever wish that things were better than they really are? Maybe it is your youth group and you wish it was more like it should be. Maybe it is your church and wish it was more like it could be.

Maybe it is the ministry that you are involved in and you wish it was more like you dreamed it would be. We all feel that way at times. We long for things to be better than they actually are. I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing, but it can become a dangerous thing.

 

I read a quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer a few months ago that I have not been able to stop pondering. In his book, "Life Together", he makes this fascinating statement:

"Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than they love the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community."

In other words, if you love the ideal community more than you love the actual community that you find yourself in, you end up making the community that you find yourself in even worse! Why? Because you aren't truly loving it. You are more in love with the dream than you are with what you actually have! As a result, we don't properly love what we have been given.

I think part of the reason why this quote has so captivated my mind is because I see how this plays out in so many areas of our lives. We wish our church would be better than it is instead of loving it better than we do. We wish our family was better than it is instead of loving our family better than we do. We wish our youth group was better than it currently is instead of loving it better than we currently do. You can fall so in love with a dream community, or the idea of an ideal community, that you never actually end up properly loving the communities that you currently have.

This side of heaven, there is no ideal or perfect community. That is why our hearts long for it. That is OK. But what is not OK is when we allow that reality to prevent us from properly appreciating and participating in the communities that God has placed us in. When we do that, we actually end up becoming a part of the problem!

Instead of searching for the ideal community, the ideal family, the ideal church, or the ideal youth group, what if you actually began to search for ways that you could personally help bring these communities closer to that ideal? Could it be that your desire for an ideal community is actually preventing you from fully appreciating and loving the communities that God has already given you?

 

 

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