This Saturday, November 24, 2018, is Small Business Saturday wherein people are being asked to shop their local shops. Shopping local helps the community in which you live. It helps small business owners succeed, providing a vibrant healthy economy. That keeps people in jobs and creates local wealth. Our local communities stay flush with community stores, it cuts down on vacancy rates in smaller areas, and provides options to everyone. If that all wasn’t enough, it cuts down on drive time, gasoline use, and get’s you out of the house!
The coming “shop local” Saturday brings to mind a book I just finished called “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell. (You can find more information about the book here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3228917-outliers). In it, he talks about what makes certain individuals, or groups of individuals unique. This can display in good or bad ways.
What I took away from this deep dive of intellectual prowess is that it takes community, opportunity, and hard work to make someone unique. For example, if Bill Gates hadn’t been born when he was, hadn’t had the opportunity to work unfettered on the computer of the time, or had the support of his “community”… he probably wouldn’t have turned out the way that he did. You’ll need to read the book to get more info on that!
So, community… what exactly is community? According to Webster’s, community is “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.” or “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals”1
For my purposes here, I will look at the first definition, although fellowship has an equal standing. People having characteristics in common (i.e. mouth, eyes, two arms, language, etc) brings us together and it should. Without community, individuals wouldn’t be able to be all that they can be. We wouldn’t have any outliers. Without the support of our fellow man, we couldn’t get as far as we do. Ask any successful person (however you define success) and they will tell you that other people helped them along their path. A favorite teacher, grandparent, supportive mom or dad, or a mentor. Ask any un-successful person and they will tell you that they just didn’t get the support or opportunity that they needed.
It’s interesting to me that the Bible has spoken about community all along. In it, you read about the community of Israelite’s, family communities (Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac or Joseph, Mary, and Jesus), and church communities.2 We are instructed to “bear one another’s burdens”3 and to “pity” the one that has no one to help him.4 In Hebrews 10, the Apostle Paul admonishes Christians to help one another out in love and to come together in community.5
This concept is especially brought home as we come to the Thanksgiving holiday and share our homes, meals, and time with the people we love. Community… It’s what we were born to do. Support and love one another. Give back to society, give opportunities where you can for fellowship. Not just fellowship with one another, but fellowship with your Creator God.6
My wish for you this Thanksgiving; happiness, a sense of belonging, all the support that you need, opportunities abounding, the fortitude to seize them, positive and loving relationships, and a relationship with the One who matters most. I wish for you a community and fellowship with your Creator.