Ever notice how the more money someone gets, the more isolated they tend to become?
I recently went out of town to visit my wife’s family. The city they live in has an NFL football team. The quarterback of that team recently received a new contract that would pay him $40 million per year.
Soon afterward, he started building a new house near where we were. So we drove by the construction site of the almost completed complex. It was completely isolated. There was forest on all sides.
The house was set back completely away from the street so that we could barely catch a glimpse of it as we walked by. The driveway had a closed gate that screamed “you shall not pass.”
The infrastructure of their location and their house communicates “we can take care of ourselves.”
Will we be built together?
The hardest challenge every church faces is whether the people that are a part of it will be built together or not. This is what’s required to be His dwelling place.
Milt Rodriguez provides some insight into this in his book The Community Life of God…
There is a choice involved here. We can allow ourselves to be built together or not. Most believers never even get the chance to experience that building together. Most of us are sitting in a “rock quarry.” We are just sitting there with a bunch of other “rocks.”
God wants to shape and mold each one of us so that we fit perfectly into one another to form those walls of the temple. This takes some chipping away of our rough edges so that we fit into one another. We can allow Him to chip us away until He gets the perfect fit together with our brothers and sisters.
Money can provide a significant obstacle to this happening because of the individualistic lifestyle it enables us to choose. Generally speaking, the more resources people have individually, the more likely they are to stay a rock quarry.
Little children enter the Kingdom
When you can take care of yourself, you tend to abandon the humble attitude and posture of being like a little child. Remember when Jesus said it was people that changed to be like little children that would enter His Kingdom? (Matthew 18:2-4)
Little children, more than humans of other ages, have an absolute need of other people. They cannot survive without others taking care of them.
As children grow into adults and develop the abilities to take care of themselves and their most essential needs, it seems they lose the sense that they actually need other people. If you’re able to make enough money to take care of shelter, food and clothing, then you’re good to go.
Jesus pushed back on this kind of thinking. He straight up said to seek the Kingdom first (being built together in God’s Love for one another) and the other things would follow (Matthew 6:25-34).
We stopped needing each other
God’s Kingdom is a community where the citizens have an awareness of their absolute need of the other citizens. How much they see they need others informs their commitment levels and investment in each other.
When you can’t meet all of your needs yourself, you have to hold on to others. You have to be around them constantly and work together to figure out life together. This makes you very likely to stick together and be built together.
In the book Find Your People, Jennie Allen talks about this issue…
Somewhere in the transition from hunting and gathering and cooking together to having our groceries delivered to our doorstep or the back of our car, we stopped needing each other. We don’t need each other to survive anymore. We don’t even need to borrow an egg.
The more resources a person gets, the more walls he or she puts up. And the more lonely they become. People who are simply trying to survive the rigors of daily life don’t have the capacity to both hold pain and shut others out. They don’t have the luxury of a closed, locked door…of tall, thick walls…of staying alone. They need each other, and they know it.
When you can’t walk away
You ever notice when you’re in a situation when you know you need others that you treat them differently? Maybe something breaks that you need to work and you don’t know how to fix it.
To the person that can, you tend to be kinder, more understanding and forgiving. You don’t want to lose what they supply to you because you know you need it.
What you can’t do is walk away as soon as things get challenging.
I’m not saying we have to sell everything we have to find and keep close friendships. I’m saying we have to reject the option of the individualistic lifestyle that having an abundance of resources presents us with. This is what Jesus was trying to get at when He presented the opportunity to the rich young ruler.
So therein lies an important component of this happening. You reject the opportunity your ability to be self-sufficient gives you to live isolated lifestyles and/or quit relationships.
Laying hold of the attitude that you truly need people provides the motivation and perseverance to always be figuring out how you might be moving forward with and drawing closer to the people you’ve chosen to be in relationship with.
Now you’re keeping and deepening those friendships.