In 2003 I traveled to Australia for a year abroad. As soon as I arrived, I went straight to the beach to swim. It was paradise – for about half an hour. Paradise on your own just isn’t paradise at all.
I wanted to share the experience with someone. In the film Castaway, Tom Hanks almost lost his life trying to save a volleyball he’d named Wilson who had become his only friend.
We are stronger when we live as a community. No matter how hard we strive to be independent, if we do everything on our own, we end up missing out on what life is all about and never reach our full potential. Life was never intended to be lived alone; community with God and one another was always the plan. The desire for community is built into our DNA.
If I were to describe the community of Jesus in one word I would say ‘attractive.’ Jesus was, and is, the most attractive person ever to walk the earth. People were drawn to him like bees to honey. They saw a humble, approachable teacher, rather than a remote leader who enforced strict rules and regulations. They received healing and transformation. Everything about Jesus was authentically attractive.
The first church was attractive too. Thousands of people could see Jesus through the lives and lifestyles of those who made up the community. The church grew organically as more and more people joined the community and found their lives transformed. They lived “all in for Jesus” and in doing that they went “all out for each other.” The people had one heart and one mind; the heart and mind of Jesus. They were outward looking; they opened up their homes and shared all they had with each other. This community didn’t have to go out looking for people to join. People came to them, because they saw authentic community.
I am all for reaching out to the lost and the poor. However, the truth is that when we reflect the heart and mind of Jesus, people come because the community is authentically attractive. It’s not the marketing or media; it’s the demonstration of the love of Christ through the individuals in the community. The world does not need Christianity redefined; it needs a fresh, sincere demonstration.
Jesus was a figure of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, and self-control. By spending time with Jesus we will become more attractive. True attractiveness is not about how good-looking we are on the outside; it’s about how good Jesus is looking in our lives, so that others want to taste and see the goodness of God for themselves.