Made for community

What if the key to finding comfort and purpose lies in the very people around us? Explore the profound insights from Ecclesiastes 4:1-12 on how community can transform our lives. Discover how God calls us to not only receive comfort and support but to actively offer it to others. How might embracing community change your perspective?

Rhys Taylor


Transcript (Auto-generated)

All right so uh I had a challenge this particular time uh uh as I've been challenged a number of times before when preaching the first time I got the opportunity to preach here I got like one phrase out of the Lord's Prayer to teach for 30 minutes I was like oh that's uh and then uh when there was still evening services on uh I was given a passage from Genesis that had the Nephilim in it it's like oh that's a big Minefield to deal with um and so this time uh the Pastoral team took um mercy on me and went I'll just listen to God and whatever he says to talk about talk about that I was like just just no no theme and just work with what what God gives you okay uh so I've learned from this don't complain just don't don't complain about this is it this is the last time Dylan I promise never complaining again um and so from that what I want to what I want to preface this morning with a little bit is that this is very much what God has been telling me so I'm very much today sharing what I felt God telling me for me over the last three months since uh saying yes to this uh and I'm sharing that with you so when you if there's anything in here where you feel like there's a call to action here understand that this is a call to action that I felt for me that I'm just kind of sharing with you there's something in here that you go oh that feels like a bit of an admonishment that I'm not good enough understand that that's something that I'm feeling too that this I'm very much coming at this from a lay preaching perspective of this is what I feel God telling me about myself not that I'm standing up here as someone better than anyone else in the room by any stretch of the imagination uh so made for Community we're looking at Ecclesiastes and again you might automatically going race Ecclesiastes is so depressing why why would you choose Ecclesiastes uh and and ultimately it's it's where the verse that's very much been on my heart these last couple months has is um and I want to say yes yes it is it's not uh Happy Shiny book of the Bible by any stretch of the imagination but what it is is a a a book of the Bible that's very real about what it's like when God isn't a part of your context uh and so that's really where I'm coming from here talking about eclesiastes today so let's open up our Bibles uh to Ecclesiastes chapter 4 we're just looking at the first uh 12 verses today we're just going to break those down but in true teacher fashion I've come with my lesson goals right I'm ready to teach today so if all of this BS you to tears and you Zone it all out children I understand uh that might happen but here are my three lesson goals for today uh as the Holy Spirit comforts me I have to be comforting other people uh as God works for my good I have to be working for the good of other and as Jesus lifts me up I have to lift up other people too so if you walk away with nothing else today than these three things I think it'll still count as a win so Ecclesiastes 4: 1:3 again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun I saw the tears of the oppressed and they had no comforter power was on the side of the oppressors and they had no comforter and I declared that the Dead who are already died are happier than the living who are still alive but better than both are those who have never been born who have not seen the evil that is done under the sun yeah we're starting on a happy point today um it's one of those things where I read this from Solomon Solomon being the writer of Ecclesiastes as far as we understand it going yet that is something true of this world today is like if if anyone ever says the Bible's not relevant to the things that are going on today it was written too long ago Solomon got what was going on in the world then just as much as what the world feels like now there is oppression going on now just as there was then and it doesn't feel like people have their comforters and I and I see in this as well a lot of this perspective that I see the world having for my generation and the generations Beyond it of why even have kids why oh it's just such a world of suffering and evil and bad why like better to have not even have been born and so it's scary to see that sort of thing in the Bible here but again I'll remind you that Ecclesiastes very much ends with that's all true if you forget about God and that God is the one who brings all of those things purpose where it seems purposeful as purple fullness that wasn't in my script I promise you so we have this repeated phrase in here and it's always important when the Bible repeats things whenever God chooses to have something repeated in there we know it has meaning it's like um I think it's uh uh uh judges you know each person was living a you know Israel had no king everyone lived according to their own way we have this repeated line the oppressed are without out comfort and that this is a really frustrating aspect of that and yes we see that in this world a world without God is one without Comfort is one of just pain and suffering and nothing else and yet we know just as Solomon knew that there is a comforter John 14:26 uh but the advocate some translations have helper some have comforter the Holy Spirit whom the father will send in uh my name will teach you all the things uh all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you this is a promise that Jesus makes to his disciples as he's preparing them for the massive amount of turmoil to come this is uh the night um after they've had their communion he's breaking down hey guys this is all the stuff that's to come uh where where uh several of the gospels just have this gigantic section of Jesus just talking as much as he can to get as much information to his disciples before everything breaks loose on them and that turmoil comes in many different forms Peter his turmoil comes with denying God in and denying Jesus in uh a particularly stressful situation uh the early church uh uh through the Roman Empire and through the Jewish authorities grow through a massive amount of Oppression uh Judas scariot as much as we don't necessarily like to talk to him about him in these sort of situations he went through a massive amount of turmoil having betrayed Jesus he just turned in a different direction to the others the church and Peter they both turned back to Jesus turn in uh in their relationship to God Judas the scar went the opposite he just ran he fled he didn't want the comforter he didn't want to be comforted and so he went in the direction that he went how we react when we deal with the suffering and the turmoil of this world is really really important and it's important that we turn towards the comforter rather than away we have this same promise when we are in turmoil that there will be a comforter in those moments and I've always found it very very interesting when I hear missionaries from uh oppressed churches from around the world talk about how those communities don't want the oppression to end that's not what their prayer is their prayer is that they will be comforted in that oppression that is their one and true goal I think that's something sometimes for us uh uh in Western countries where you know the Bible's been a part of our culture for so long the idea of being oppressed H that's that scares the bebas out of us we just don't want to deal with that at all and yet our brothers and sisters elsewhere go no that that was in the contract that we signed that was that was what we expected to come uh and so we work with that within our community we accept that within our community but we latch on to that comforter as I was thinking about and considering this this particular verse came to mind 1 Corinthians 3:16 do you know do you not know that you are the temple of God and the spirit of God dwells in you so if the spirit of God is the comforter and the spirit of God dwells in you then his comfort dwells in you and that to a certain extent makes you the comforter if this holy spirit is in you and guiding you then you are the comforter bit of an odd one for me to wrap my head around there but what it means to me is that if I've experienced God's comfort then I have to share that with other people that's an action that I have to take from that point forward the point in this is not just oh don't I feel so comfortable now God's one I feel comfortable no it's that oh how amazing is it to feel comfort in this oppression I need to share this comfort with others if you haven't experienced that Comfort if you're someone who's new to the church coming in today or you've just always gotten dragged Along by whoever drags you along then know that even that is a call on you and to you into that Comfort you're not getting dragged along young people in the room for no reason whatsoever there is a comfort here in this community if you are willing to accept it might be some not so young people who need to accept it too it's important that we join in community as a church to comfort each other in the oppressive times now this is not a call from me that you now have to go and buy a ticket to Ukraine and immediately start oh maybe you feel that in your heart that that's what you've got to do go and start comforting the oppressed there let me guarantee you there are oppressed people in Kabula let me guarantee you that there are people who require Comfort uh you know a Stones across the fence right there are people right here who need the comfort of Christ so if it's one of those things where you go oh I couldn't possibly do that because I don't want to go traveling to these horrible places of the world we live in a place that needs God just as much as any other needs you as much as any other uh Ecclesiastes uh 4:4 to6 and I saw that all toil and all achievement Springs from one's per one person's Envy of another this too is meaning are chasing after the wind fools fold their hands and ruin themselves better one handful with Tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind here again we see a repeated light and chasing after the wind um for those of you unsure this is a bit of a metaphor that Solomon likes to use here for doing something that is a waste of effort the winds behind you the winds ahead of you chasing it what what have you won at the end of the day the wind continues and so therefore why are we working why do we do work why do we work as hard as we do why are we according to the data the hardest working Generations that have ever existed why do we do that to ourselves I as a teacher work in a profession where oh teachers they work so hard yes I am and within the working of teachers I'm one of those people who works too hard um it is not uncommon for the people who know me well here to go Reese did you actually take a break these holidays is that actually what happened uh yeah yeah yeah I I swear I took a couple of days off uh it was meant to be two weeks sure it was but oh there's just so much to do why am I doing all of that work I have to actually ask myself that is it because I want to be better than the other people at work is it because I hold this head of secondary role in such esteem that I I feel that I need to work that hard what am I striving for is it simply just so that I can be better than the other teachers there I hope not I hope not it's something that I have to think through something I have to meditate on to check my heart and where it's at but am I advocating here to just give up work am I saying everyone here who's not retired yet you just need to quit just give up on that stop doing it it's a chasing out to the wind it's completely meaningless no the one who folds their hands and does nothing is a fool I'm not asking you to be fools by any stretch of the imagination but we have to consider I am I capable of being tranquil with just a handful just one so that I can do other things with my other hand can one handful of what I need to be able to survive in this world enough which I know with inflation and all those other issues sometimes that handful seems very small but am I capable of dealing with just one handful rather than two what does it mean if I've got one hand free well one hand free means that I'm open to be able to receive things from God one hand free means that I'm ready to give to others when I was uh writing up this particular slide what came to mind for me was all of us very much clinging to this Cliff that is life as hard as the we can to just keep going and Jesus is standing above us on the edge of this Cliff going hey open up a hand take my hand I'll pull you up and we've got to try and can I let go of my death grip on this life of all the things that I need to be happy here and now to release that hand and take his even more so within that of community am I willing to let go of all the things that I need to help someone else get what they need a hand that's not grasping for material wealth is free to do the work for the Kingdom so Romans 8 verse 28 says and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and uh who have been called according to his purpose in that same way as we are called to be comforters because the Holy Spirit lives in us God lives on us works for our good and therefore we need as a part of our life and a part of what we do in our community to be working for the good of others Matthew 9:35 to 38 then he said to the disciples the Harvest is plentiful but the workers are few ask the lord of the Harvest therefore to send out workers into his Harvest field it is exceptionally important for us I think to be Christians who are looking to work more than the work of arriving on a Sunday morning and sitting in a chair um again uh well actually sorry I was about to say again but where I want to go with that is that this isn't about our Salvation this requirement of this work this isn't about you aren't a good Christian if you don't work this is very much about how can we do anything else after the work that God has done for us how can we do like it is it is a call to action purely in the sense of I must do it's like when Adams bounce against each other forcing other Adams to bounce against each other we like we've received this energy of comfort and of the work that God does how can we do anything but comfort and work for others we are those workers if God's put a call on your heart in any way shape or form part of that call is to do his work in his field that may not be standing up here and doing a message it's distinctly possible not everyone's called This is nerve-wracking I stand in front of 20 kids every day and yet this you know makes me want to throw up a little bit I understand not everyone's going to be called to the mission field all the way overseas but again our mission field can be more local than that our mission field can be the people we work next to at work work or if we're working online it can be the people that were on the telephone too wherever it is we can find this way to as Colossians says do whatever we do hardly is to the Lord not as to men um that particular verse uh became my meditation in my Mantra in one of um the most frustrating jobs I'd ever had which was just stacking avocado pallets of just taking avocado one a ton of aloc avocados from over here and box by box putting them over there and that was my job all day long back and forth just restacking these pallets of avocados because whoever had stacked them first stacked them the way that we didn't want them stacked and yet somehow I found a way to do that job for the Lord and instead of for men and I can't speak to any sort of grand amazing change that I made on people's hearts there but I certainly know that I lived by what God was calling me to do in that time and I would even suggest there were aspects of that where that was where I felt the co closest to God because I didn't have all these other things muddling up my mind of career and the loan on the house and all those other things all I had to worry about as far as life was concerned was get those avocados over there gave me a lot more time to focus on what God was after in a lot of other spaces verses 7 to 12 again I saw something meaningless Under the Sun there was man all alone he had neither son nor brother there was no end to his toil yet his eyes were not content with his wealth for who am I toiling he asked and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment this too is meaningless a miserable business two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor if either of them falls down one can help the other up but pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up also if two lie down together they will keep warm but how can one keep warm alone though one may be overpowered two can defend themselves a cord of three strands is not quickly broken that last line there in particular a cord of three strands is not quickly broken has been very very core to that's what called me for this particular message here because I've been really struggling for me personally with this idea and this part of of community of supporting each other not that I don't like supporting other people I don't like being supported it's a real it's like a deep core thing that I've got to battle with and I'm battling with at the moment and with Jesus on how to surrender this it's so deep and ingrained in me I've I've started going to the gym to try and lose some weight I don't like people spotting me at the gym I don't just know I will act L choose to just lift just much smaller weights just so you know I understand it's safer but I just I don't just don't come near me let me do it myself if I can't do it myself I shouldn't be doing it leave me alone um Dave Heron will know I struggled with it I uh I had injured myself over the last six months uh which made it very very difficult for me to get out and mow my lawn which meant that my lawn in certain places was as tall as I am so I would have lost Dave loader in there somewhere right Dave Heron offered multiple times Rees I love gardening I love doing that sort of stuff let me come over and do it no no no I have to be able to do this myself I can't let other people deal with the consequences of my in action right was where my head and my heart was at I can't other people doing that oh I don't like it here's the thing though that keeps beating on my heart in this reace what did Jesus do for you can you handle that can you handle that Jesus had to deal with the consequences of your actions and your inactions can you handle that can you deal with that can that be thrown up in your face and forced upon you to deal with you couldn't do that on your own I guess I can not every day but it's a reminder to me that hey Jesus is acting in those people trying to spot me at the gym Jesus is acting in my friends try and help me with my yard Jesus is acting in all of those different things because just as he supported us we're called to support each other so this fellow that Solomon saw had no son or brother we uh take some gender out of it it could be sister or daughter you know has meaning for us all there um mentorship and time with peers is so important for our faith and for our community as a teacher I often see a real struggle with this I've had parents come to me at teacher parent teacher interviews Mr Taylor my kids really struggling with math how do I help them how do I help them with math I'm not much of a mathematician what do I do how do I get them doing math at home I'm like well the answer they're expecting is get the exercise book out and force them to do it because who doesn't enjoy a fight with their child over mathematics but what I usually end up saying instead is well do you get them to sit with you while you do the banking no okay do you get them to sit with you while you do the budgeting while you're planning out the budget for the next month no do you what are are they into any sports Cricket right do you talk stats with them like Dad do you talk stats Cricket stats with your son and all the runs and I don't know what happens in cricket um like do you talk about those Innings that's a thing um do you talk about those things with your child because I can guarantee you that's going to be far more effective getting them thinking about life math stuff than sitting down and forcing them through their times tables today from your end as a parent right leave the forcing them through multiplication to folks like me but it's the same thing with our faith do our children or the young people in our lives because maybe you don't I don't have children do the young people in your life younger people even see you working through your faith do they see you going to a small group do they see you praying over the things that you're struggling with um because they need to and your peers need to see that too and you need your peers to do that with you as well that is something that you need that's something God's built into who you are no matter how introverted you might say you are I can guarantee you it's built into the very core of who you are that you need those peers and you need those coming up behind you as a part of your discipleship and your ministry and as a part of our community there's a couple things there that are a miserable B business working Without Partners working without connection working without Community it's a miserable thing to work alone it's a miserable thing to work without enjoyment I don't know how many of you have had to work in situations where you it's just it's a paycheck it's a paycheck and that's what I'm here for and that's all I need and then I'm going home CU I get nothing more out of this than that it's miserable it's miserable to be discontent with wealth we've talked about that already but it's just as miserable within all of that at the end of I see within that passage I feel like this guy getting to the end of it and just going hey I've got wealth I might as well just live for enjoyment that's a miserable thing too we need Community we need our brothers and our sons and our sisters and our daughters within our community to make the work that we do meaningful that is to say full of meaning because otherwise it's meaningless you aren't called to do your service alone whatever you feel like you're being called to I guarantee someone else is feeling that call to because you are not called to do it alone so seek those people out seek out the other people who are called to the same thing you are because I can guarantee you you are not alone when there's at least two one of them can help the other on up when they fall because I can guarantee one of you will fall because we all do we all fall short and so we need accountability we live in a generation who knows what toxic celebrity Christianity looks like we've seen over the last decade too many celebrity Christians have their lives behind the scenes exposed to show hey they were just as sinful as the rest of us pity the one who falls and has no one to lift them up I very much pity a number of those ladies and gentlemen who did not live in communities who could hold them accountable to make sure that they stuck to the path that they were meant to be on and so we need that too in our own community no one here should fall alone though one may be overpowered two can defend themselves a cord of three is not easily broken this very much a you know a fighting type verse and therefore I go to Ephesians about well who are we fighting who is this fight with well our fight's not with flesh and blood but against the rulers against the authorities against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the Heavenly realm we cannot fight these forces on our own absolutely within that and and even if there's three of you together without Jesus you won't be winning that battle there is none of us doing doing this alone not successfully uh Matthew 18:23 for where two or three are gathered in my name there I am also which isn't just a verse about hey you have to be gathered together this is very specifically a verse that comes at the end of hey how do you deal with conflict within your church within your community within your congregation you gather people together because where people are gathered together to deal with those issues Jesus is going to be there too and to finish with here I have my list of excuses now you might be sitting there going race you're on Church Council I remember last year you were doing like a youth small group and running an afg and all those sort of things you don't have you you're doing things no I feel this I feel these particular struggles and so if these speak to you that's fine but these are definitely the things that I have to battle work was really tough today I don't have the energy for small group I don't want to go I don't have the energy to deal with other people I've dealt with other people all day I can't be bothered it's too much well then what am I working for what was all that work for today that has me so drained of energy that I would deprive myself s of community there was a mention of a working be earlier I can't even keep my I can't keep my own house in order why why would you want me here painting walls I I don't know how to do any of that sort of stuff but am I really going to fold my arms and be the fool I already work at a Christian School that's my Ministry I don't need to do any other Ministries that's that's all God's getting from me I I don't need the Men's breakfast stuff thank you Dave for inviting me to one but you know not for me I've already got a Ministry thank you how am I being a good role model to the young men that I've been leading that are coming up behind me if I avoid the opportunities to fellowship with those other men as I mentioned earlier I hate it when I fail and other people step in to help me I hate it when other people become burdened by the consequences of my actions I have to deal with the fact that that's some false humility there and so to wrap up as the Holy Spirit comforts you please comfort the others in your community as God has done good work for you please please do good work for your community and as Jesus has supported you please support those in your community let's pray dear Lord thank you so much for this morning I just want to thank you for the blessing of your word thank you for the blessing of uh hearing from you I pray Lord that as we as a community uh work together to comfort to do good works and to support that all of the blessings that come from that are accorded and accounted to you that ultimately it is for your glory and your good will that we do all the things that we do amen