[by Kees van Velzen]
Living together in community is so important….and you’re asking me to write about it? I’m Kees van Velzen, an only child of parents who’d always wanted a big family. In fact they only had one son, – that’s me, born eleven years after their marriage. So what could an only child possibly have to say about the importance of togetherness, about community?
Following my conversion, it was the most wonderful discovery to find that I had now become part of the biggest family in the world: I had millions of brothers and sisters. Wherever I come and go on the earth, they’re there. And so every place where Jesus is known as Lord is a bit like home to me. Of course, living in God’s family is not always restful, but I couldn’t go on living without it.
The Bible is full of community. Clearly we were created to live in community. There are many examples that illustrate this. Take, for example, the passages that compare the Church of Jesus to a body. We need each other! Or again, when Jesus in His high priestly prayer desires our unity so ardently. But I want us to look at Proverbs 30 v.24-28, which speaks of the wisdom of the little creatures.
Why does the Almighty find it necessary to refer to ants and locusts in the words of Agur, son of Jakeh? And what can I tell you about the IQ of these little creatures that would make sense to you? Well, we’re told that they are particularly wise. They were made that way by God, and He uses them as an example. In order to overcome their weakness and bring down many strong adversaries, they work together! Ants have an incredible system that betters the processing power of a computer: they plan well ahead, look after their nest and food supplies and work relentlessly to achieve their goal. Biologists can’t stop talking about this amazing system that enables ants to track down food by scent and convey it to the nest. Sometimes they carry a weight many times heavier than themselves. Not for nothing does Solomon write ‘Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider her ways and be wise!’ Proverbs 6 v.6. And finally, the locusts. They ‘have no king, but they advance together in ranks.’ No king; what a lesson for us! One locust on its own is not very impressive, but it’s another story when they all work together! They can literally bring down kingdoms.
But wait a minute…
We do have a King and His Name is Jesus. By putting ourselves at His service, by working together in community and following Him, we too can bring down ‘kingdoms’ so that His Kingdom might increase!