Community complements your purpose
Published 9:54 pm Wednesday, April 3, 2019
By QuaWanna Bannarbie
I learned a couple of years ago that the letter “U” sits dead center of the word community. I shared that revelation in a column published here on Feb 1, 2018, titled, “It takes community.”
Think of the letter “U” as an alphabetical representation of yourself. You sit snug in the middle of several others around you, and together you form community. In the same way that this letter is surrounded by other letters that complement its purpose, you are surrounded by others that complement your purpose.
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There is more to community than meets the eye. “Community” is derived from the Latin word “communis,” which means “shared in common.” The idea of sharing things in common gave rise to a two-word description of community which is “common unity.” When I broke down the word “common” even further, I came up with two prefixes. “Co-“ which means to join or complement. The other prefix is “mon,” which means to be one or alone. From all of that, I gathered that a community refers to many ones complementing each other in unity. I also thought of community as the assurance that an alone one, the “mon,” is joined with others.
This week during Bible study fellowship, my class was asked this question, “How willing are we to join forces with others to accomplish the tasks that God has given to us?” The facilitator, Mrs. Verlie, referenced how often we embark on individual missions afraid to share it or ask for help for fear the credit for the successful accomplishment will go to someone else. This is fretfully ignorant thinking. Each of us has a purpose that is connected to someone else.
She also stated, “We can serve far beyond our human capability when we connect with others for God’s purpose.” Her comments resonated with me deeply. I firmly believe that humans were created for community. No matter how we try to escape it, we are surrounded with people that God has put in our path because He, not we, governs His will over everything. Whether you acknowledge it or not, God intended that there would be certain people in your circle even if they are only with you for a season. People have purpose in your life, because they help you accomplish your purpose in life.
I thought back to the scripture, Hebrews 12:1. The New International Version states, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” The previous chapter catalogues great heroes and heroines of faith, their acts of service, sacrifice and strengths, and how they met their challenges so that we could now stand as witnesses unto the uttermost parts of the earth.
We tend to think of these Hebrews 11 witnesses as only those who have gone before us. But they are not all mentioned there. Let me encourage you today to believe that the cloud of witnesses also includes those alive, running ahead, empowering and supporting you to run your race. In the same way that a witness is needed to verify the authenticity of a legal document, God has assigned “co-mons,” others who complement your life, to validate God’s will and purpose for you.
Remember my inference regarding community earlier; the assurance that an alone one, the “mon,” is joined with others. God ensured that you would not accomplish His tasks alone. Many of your “co-mons” are at your fingertips. You may have never considered them as “co-mons” until now. I did not. Now I realize that I am truly surrounded by a community that complements me to do the will of my Father.
QuaWanna Bannarbie is an adjunct professor of nonprofit leadership and management with Indiana Wesleyan University, National and Global. Her children attend Suffolk Public Schools. Connect with her via Twitter @QNikki_Notes.