The Power of Community
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Harvard professor Robert Putnam wrote a book years ago called Bowling Alone, which documents the decline in community life in America since the 1960s. The title comes from a trivial but telling example: the percentage of adults who belong to a bowling league today is only about a quarter of what it was in the 1960s.
Other examples he cites are...
- The percentage of people who volunteer in a political campaign – stuffing envelopes, making phone calls, going door to door – is today about half what it was in the late 1960s.
- Active membership in local clubs and organizations, like the PTA, has dropped by about half, percentage-wise, since the 1970s.
- People are visiting one another less frequently, having friends over for dinner less frequently, getting together to play cards less frequently.
These are just a few examples showing that just about every objective measure of participation in community and civic life is declining. People are disconnected more than ever. So it's no wonder we're more isolated and more depressed than we've ever been.
God never created us to live life alone. So even if you struggle to make friends, do it anyway. Stay involved in social gatherings and clubs. Not only will you be encouraged yourself, you'll have a platform to build meaningful relationships and share the Gospel with others.
Pray that God would help you continue to build meaningful relationships with others.
Questions for Thought:
Can you name three people with whom you have built a close friendship?
What are some practical steps you can take to start getting more involved in others' lives?
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