A young, obstinate Englishman once ignored his father’s wish to become a member of the clergy, choosing instead a life at sea. Soon after he began his career, he suffered shipwreck and was cast ashore an uninhabited island off the coast of the New World. He was alone. No other human being was with him on the island. He managed to build himself a shelter and a small boat with the supplies he salvaged from the wreck of his ship. Despite living in a beautiful, idyllic setting, happiness eluded the man. He wrote these desperate words in his journal,


I am cast upon a horrible, desolate island, void of all hope of recovery. I am singled out and separated, as it were, from all the world, to be miserable. I am divided from mankind—a solitaire; one banished from society. I have no soul to speak to or relieve me.


The story of Robinson Crusoe speaks of a basic human need for community. It also illustrates how the alienating affects of living in a fallen world make it difficult to experience real community.


Humans were created for community, with each other and with God. The church is the place where believers in Jesus Christ experience real community in real interpersonal relationships. The New Testament makes this clear through an abundance of “one another” statements. Somebody once counted fifty-nine unique expressions throughout the New Testament.


I’m talking about phrases like “love one another,” “bear one another’s burdens,” “forgive one another,” and “encourage one another.” The phrase “one another” appears 100 times in 94 verses in the New Testament (some mentioned more than once). Forty-seven of those verses speak directly to followers of Jesus in a local church. 

Robinson Crusoe was miserable on his island utopia because he had no "one another" in his life. But Crusoe was not created to live alone in paradise any more than we are. 


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“Every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

Romans 8:28 MSG