"Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." (ESV) Philippians 2:4
There’s a knock on the door, and it’s your neighbor asking for an egg. You grab one from the fridge to share, and it turns out that you borrow their hedge trimmer next week because yours is broken. Later that evening, you are grateful to another neighbor for keeping an eye on your children as they navigate their new wheels on the sidewalk while you wash the dishes. Sound familiar? Sharing childcare, recipes, and lawnmowers helps to foster connections with neighbors and friends.
When there is sudden grief or unexpected loss, having access to others nearby can also be life-saving. In 1 Corinthians 12:20, the apostle Paul reminds us that though we are many individual parts, we are also connected as one body. Being connected with each other as a community brings a level of comfort, reminding us we are not alone.
Our children learn about this community connection when they have a chance to help others. But our children might express frustration at having to help—and maybe we can relate. We too might also find it inconvenient to stop our work to help another. We might get irritated when our to-do list for the day is sidetracked by someone who needs a listening ear.
As adults, let’s consider what we risk losing when we overlook the opportunity to help. How are our faith communities affected when we help only at convenient times and in the manner we see fitting? What happens when the young woman—who you’ve supported through your church with meals and grocery gift cards—no longer answers your phone calls and emails? How are your kids shaped when you turn down requests for help?
Philippians 2:4 reminds us we are called to be mindful of others. We are not intended to live independently of others but instead interdependently with others. Embracing that shared life together requires grace, vulnerability, and patience.
We are created for connection through community in our local neighborhood and our larger world. When we show our children how to willingly help others—by making time and not expecting anything in return—we are modeling God’s care. God offers unconditional love to all, and we can share in that amazing love through community with our helping hands and hearts.
Want to do a deep dive? Check out Family Fire's article Missional Living: Serving Your Community