One difficulty of living in a sinful world is that we come under the illusion that it is better to rely on oneself than be dependent on others.
Timothy Jennings in ‘The God Shaped Brain’ illustrates this point using the example of God’s creation. In any ecosystem, the survival of every being is dependent on another. He observed that for animals to survive, a plant or another animal must be ‘sacrificed’ and consumed. A plant’s survival depends on nutrients from the soil, rain, and sun; it cannot possibly grow on its own. There is not one member of creation that can be entirely independent.
For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.Romans 1:20
We should expect God’s creation to reflect His nature. Timothy Jennings argues that the sacrificial nature of all creation reflects the love of God, because love is, by nature, sacrificial. From this perspective, love really does make the world go around. If an element of creation decides not to love and not to sacrifice, its community risks loss of life.
The same is true for humans! For some reason, we have decided that self-dependence is best, but actually, it halts the cycle of love and hurts families and communities. I think we know this to be true from our own experiences. When we live isolated lives, we tend to lack joy, but when we choose to love others by sacrificing our time/money/attention, we receive joy. Communities that help and rely on each other for their needs, tend to be relationally close, more joyous communities. Truly it is “better to give than receive” as the Bible says.
Last week, we spent time with Year 7 and 8 students at Galston Gorge camp. The students participated in bushwalking, archery, abseiling, and climbing, as well as other activities. At the end of every activity, Crusader staff gathered the students together to reflect on the importance of encouragement and teamwork. Many students recognised the importance of working as a team, particularly as they experienced failure when they did not practice effective teamwork!
I would like to encourage you to reflect on your need for Christ, and other people; we can’t live life in isolation. I also encourage you to be that help for others; sacrifice your time and resources for your neighbour and follow the greatest example of love, Jesus Christ.
If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact, God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.1 Corinthians 12:17-20