Community Spirit

The rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of every ten of them to live in Jerusalem, the holy city, while the remaining nine were to stay in their own towns.
Nehemiah 11:1 (NIV)

Last night was a beautiful summer evening. Wendy and I shuffled across the street at the invitation of our neighbors Kevin and Linda. We sat in their front yard and sipped cold drinks as the sun set and the stars came out on a cloudless sky. As always, the conversation with our friends meandered into diverse topics. One of the topics was that of community support.

We live in a thriving small town in Iowa. Our little town is a hoppin’ place. When you go to “the square” during the day you’re often going to hunt for a good parking spot. Housing is in short supply compared to the demand of those moving in (another topic of our conversation). Many rural towns our size would love to have such a problems.

There are a number of reasons for our town’s success, but one of them is simply community support. “Buy local” aren’t just buzzwords here. There is a true spirit among residents of supporting local businesses. You feel the expectation, and you generally feel good when you’re a part of making the community successful. Our conversation with Kevin and Linda last night meandered into the sticky wicket that residents face in discerning when to bite the bullet and pay higher prices to support local and when/if it becomes fiscally foolish to do so.

In today’s chapter, the Israelites around Jerusalem were facing similar dilemma of community support. They had restored the broken down walls and gates of Jerusalem. They had resurrected worship at the temple. But, their efforts would be in vain if people didn’t actually live inside the city wall and support the local urban renewal project. So, they cast lots (the ancient version of drawing straws) and chose ten percent of the families from among the tribes. These families were to “support local” and move themselves within the city walls and do their part for the community. The fact that they had to draw lots makes me wonder just how excited those families were about moving into the rubble.

This morning I’m thinking about community. I’m thinking about the support that is required to make communities, small businesses, and community organizations run. Without a spirit of community among the individual members, the whole suffers. Jesus’ teachings of washing each other’s feet and loving others more than we love ourselves is woven into the spirit of community. We need each other.

 

chapter a day banner 2015

 

3 thoughts on “Community Spirit”

  1. 11 1-2 The leaders of the people were already living in Jerusalem, so the rest of the people drew lots to get one out of ten to move to Jerusalem, the holy city, while the other nine remained in their towns. The people applauded those who voluntarily offered to live in Jerusalem.

    It takes a village…..to make a village. LOL. Much of this chapter is naming names, but I am reminded in these first verses of how in order for community to function properly, there needs to be some give and take. Some need to volunteer, some need to be chosen to live in the city while others live in the surrounding towns. It takes all of us. Over the years politically, there have been demographics that show that certain populated areas may lean one way or another politically and of course the political leaders use that to their advantage to polarize and draw lines between people. As one who lives in the fly-over states and was a farm kid, I grew up thinking that somehow we were less important than those in the big cities. Obviously I learned that my vote is just as important and valuable as anyone in New York, but I often wonder why we can’t view ourselves as all part of one great country instead of feeling separated. Oh well, I will chew on that today.

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