It takes a village. So where’s the village?
Twenty years ago Hilary Clinton popularized the proverb, It takes a village to raise a child. If you have ever felt overwhelmed by the tasks in your life or the need for community, then you probably want a village. And if you’ve ever wanted a village and none have appeared then you are not alone. I have often wished for a village, usually when my plate is too full.
We’re not the first people to want a village. Near the turn of the 20th century there was a movement in Israel toward these villages, called kibbutzim—unique rural communities dedicated to mutual aid and social justice, based on the principle of joint ownership of property, equality and cooperation of production, consumption, and education—a home for those who had chosen it.
Yet, today we more likely find ourselves raising kids in isolation, cooking meals for one, and thinking it’s up to us to meet our own needs. This “every man for himself” movement is the exact opposite of what Luke writes about the early church in Acts 4:32-33:
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all.
Sharing with one another was not only a way to love one another or merely a practical solution, but this was the way to make their ministry more effective. They were more effective together than apart. The world was watching. The goal of these Christians was to preach the Gospel. That meant looking like Jesus and loving like Jesus—being a community rather than a competition.
While compound-living is not practical for most of us, this is where I want to raise my family. The Village which teaches, nourishes, protects, and takes care of one another is exactly the place I want to be! Don’t you?
So what are we doing, Church? Are we being the community home? What can the model of these early Christians teach us? Maybe that we need one another, maybe that we must be willing to share our blessings and our burdens for the sake of the Gospel. Maybe it’s worth joining a village.
Maureen Kasdorf is a freelance writer, Bible study leader, sleep coach, and mother. She, her husband Mike, and their three spirited children live in Wauwatosa, Wis., and are actively involved in their church.