When God created Adam right there in the first inning, he stood back and mused, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). Women in our society sometimes chafe at those words, as though being Adam’s helper is demeaning or less than.
What we need to realize is that Eve is not Adam’s helper for anything and everything. She’s not the maid, not the backup vocalist, not second fiddle. She both completes the team and enables the dream.
Adam was alone, which was not good, so God gave him a helper… to help him… do what, exactly? To build a family. Or in broader terms, to build community. To erase loneliness and paint a rich fellowship. Right from the start, when the primordial echoes were still ringing in the ears of his creation, God recruited a community specialist and commanded us to get busy together.
We need to remember, too, that “God blessed them and said to them (not just Adam) “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Go team humanity! Woo hoo! Never mind that the first thing they do is drop the ball, pop it, trample it, and completely lose it in the bushes. Or under the apple tree, as it may be.
The purpose of marriage, once we’ve agreed to glorify God as a team, is to build community. For some folks, this will involve babies. For all of us, single or not, it will mean using our relationships to build more of relationships.
Let that sink in.
The purpose of my relationships includes the mandate to use my relational capital to build more community. To invite others in. To place the lonely in families.
This means—ahem—that Christians don’t close circles, they open them. They are inviters, builders, includes, embracers. Their small groups aren’t just “open to new people,” they actively go and get them because they are obsessed with helping as many people as they can feel like they belong.
Question: How have you helped build community today? How have you leveraged your relationships to make more of them?
* painting by Oliver Ray, a Canadian artist.
I wonder if that’s why television and movies explore this idea of creating family from non-family members, to fix their hearts where their real family left them in the lurch.
Stories like Million Dollar Baby where this bitter old man opens his heart to a young female boxer, a place his real daughter no longer wanted to go.
Or how the fugitives, abandoned by their real parents, find refuge on Firefly. Simon is wanted by the authorities and disowned by his father. So when captain Reynolds risks his ship and life to rescue the young man, Simon has to ask “why?”
“Because you’re part of my crew,” Reynolds answers. “Why are we still talking about this?”
We create family where none existed.
PREEEEEEAAAACH IT BRO!