We need Christian community
"9 Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their toil.10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!" - Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
As many of you know, I had a pretty rough go of it my sophomore year of college.
My mom, who meant the absolute world to me was struck with a severe respiratory sickness. What started as a cough, quickly progressed into a disease that took her breathing and eventually her life.
I'll spare you all of the details, but one thing is obvious - that was incredibly difficult to walk through. I was a broken and lost individual. I had no idea where to go or what to do with my life.
Well, actually, I did have an idea where to go that Sunday. I felt an overwhelming urge to attend the church I grew up at - Marcus Pointe Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL.
Church was, ever since I was saved as a teenager, something I looked forward to. It felt like I had a family there.
We all need Christian community in our life. I know I especially did that day.
Conveniently, it was also the day of my mom's funeral. So sitting through the service was an emotional experience. It's hard to explain but hearing things about Heaven and eternity right after someone you love dearly passes away is a jarring thing to go through.
Nonetheless, it was a great and encouraging service. I was grateful I showed up to that point. But I was about to be even more thankful.
Right before the service ended, Pastor Gordon Godfrey (Senior Pastor) called me to the front of the church. Marcus Pointe is a semi-large church so this was a bit shocking. Especially since I had no idea this was happening!
Once I make it to the stage in front of the 1200 or so people in the service, he tells them about my mom passing away earlier that week and to pray for me - which I appreciated. Prayers are nice.
But he didn't stop there. He went on to say that if anyone feels led to help me monetarily, they can come up to the stage after service and do so. He followed it up by saying: "And you should feel led."
Frankly, I was filled with anxiety about money. My mom, though we didn't have much, did help me pay for lots of things in my life. I wasn't ready to be financially independent at 20.
I wondered how I'd pay for health insurance, college, and even the funeral.
Those worries, in a matter of minutes, were no more. People approached me like I hit the walk-off home-run in the world series.
Random individuals who I'd never seen in my life just kept putting cash and checks in my hand. Crying and hugging me. It was mind-blowing. Even more people donated to a "Go Fund Me" that someone made for me.
After it all, thousands of dollars were given to me. The funeral was paid for, my next semester of college was covered and I had insurance.
I needed Christian community at that time. I still do. We all do.
Even to this day, the Christian community continues to impact my life for the positive at my current church, Second Baptist in Houston. It provides a support system of people that love and care for me and my family.
The same thing can be true for you as well. Get plugged into a church. Show up every week, join a group and find some way to serve.
I obviously can't promise that what happened to me will happen to you in a time of tragedy. But I can assure you your life will be far better because you're connected to Christian community.