Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

You Reap What You Sow…

Written by: on January 16, 2015

Community: the thing that shapes us into the people we are and become.

Community: the one thing that most of us want, but aren’t willing to fight for.

Community: a romantic notion of doing life with people, but in reality it’s hard, messy and often difficult to attain. We like the idea of community, but we are rarely willing to put in the time and effort to achieve it.

In an individualistic society like ours, community is something we value in theory, but rarely value it in practice… we think we do, but we don’t. I say this confidence, because at the end of the day most of us don’t look at our communities and say, “I belong to them and they belong to me.” Most often we underestimate the influence that one person has over the other.

As I read through Social Animal by David Brooks, I was once again struck by the idea of interconnectedness. Even the fact that our society values individuality and individual ideas is an indication of the power that one person has in influencing another. We moved from a community-based society into an individual based society because our communities as a whole moved towards this… simply put, one person had the idea and the other tagged along.

It is a healthy community that produces healthy individuals. Without a healthy community… or without a community, people do not form healthy attachments resulting in unhealthy relationships with other people or the world around us.

It is in our families that we first encounter community, and it is in this community, made up of a mother, a father and a child, that we first learn how to interact with the world around us. We underestimate the importance of family and the individual roles that one family member plays in the life of the other. I think that because our world is so broken, we have started to underestimate the value of parents because many people don’t want to live up to the responsibility. So instead of raising or maintaining the bar, we brought it low so that we would feel better about ourselves in thinking that we’ve achieved it. The bar is low because we don’t like failure… but in lowering the bar we have failed to see the consequences that absent mothers and fathers have on the next generation.

If I had to sum up Brooks’ book in one short statement I would say, you reap what you sow, so be intentional about what you sow.

About the Author

Stefania Tarasut

10 responses to “You Reap What You Sow…”

  1. Telile Fikru Badecha says:

    Hi Stefania, I really like how you emphasize the importance of community in this post. The challenge I notice in my faith community is that we are connected within ourselves but not so much with others in the broader community. I see our Oromo community leaders do much better job bring community together than our church leaders. How is your church doing community?

  2. Stefania…
    So glad you are feeling better! You spoke so well to the presence of community. We are oriented toward community — almost like an oblong circle. We draw away from community in some way shape or form and yet when individual space creates isolation we are drawn (instinctively ?) toward community or at least into social spaces. I recognize that in many ways my choices as well as my culture and context shape me, how I responded and how I now respond will determine how my remaining years are expressed. I am learning that I have to accept both. I do reap and yet I can still sow. Appreciative of your wise insights and call to us….

  3. John Woodward says:

    Stefania, I can only say, “Amen, and Amen!” I think any of us who have worked with young people in ministry have to realize the importance of family in the lives of the individual. There are no “islands” or lone rangers, because the impact of our families are so central to who we are and how we are wired–and most of us don’t realize it! Sadly, it seems that both society and the church are weakening the role and responsibility of the family. The lack of a strong church response to the growing divorce rates, and hurt that broken marriages cause children for years to follow, is criminal. It must break God’s heart! I think the churches failure to promote, encourage and strengthen “family” is reaping the brokenness and disfunction of this generation and the generations to come. You are right…we do reap what we sow! I pray often for these young people, as I am sure you do to. Thanks for being there to minister to our youth!

  4. Liz Linssen says:

    Hi Stefania
    Thank you for your blog post. You are so right where you say we all like the idea of being part of a community, but the whole living out of that idea is something that is not so easy to attain. As you say, community is messy and hard work. How true! Yet in the midst of all that mess, God can break in with His love and grace. And what a difference that makes! As we show one another God’s gracious love, we grow and are blessed. May God give us the wisdom and perseverance we need to create healthy communities!

  5. Ashley says:

    Stefania!!! Ahhh, community. I think we crave community. We crave a sense and place of belonging. Perhaps too many of us have been independent individuals for so long that we have forgot not only the importance of community, but even how to create community. Can you teach community?

    Speaking of community, I can’t wait to introduce you to my favorite communities soon!

  6. Miriam Mendez says:

    Stefania, you speak from your heart! Your post reminded me of “Life Together” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. As you said we like the idea of community–and as Bonheoffer puts it “christian community has broken down because it sprung from a wish dream.” You also said “We like the idea of community, but we are rarely willing to put in the time and effort to achieve it.” Again, Bonheoffer talks about loving the dream of a community more than the Christian community — and this is what destroys community. We forget about the messiness, the hard work and the reality of humanity. How can we let go of the dream of community and begin to fall in love with the community itself? Thanks Stefania for the reminder!

    • Stefania Tarasut says:

      Miriam, I’m glad that you picked up on Bonhoeffer 🙂 I’ve read “Life Together” so many times that I’m not sure if these are my thoughts or Bonhoeffer’s thoughts 🙂 Thank you!

  7. Clint Baldwin says:

    Thanks for your focus on community.
    What I appreciated about Brooks’ text is his combination of the almost determined, evolutionary, physiological/biological aspects that drive us and the socio-cultural learned behaviors that influence us. I love how he notes the dizzying array of (un)certainty that surrounds all of this because of the contextual complexity of it all.
    Anyhow, in the midst of all such things, I too consistently come back to (and actually reside at) considering, “how then shall we live?” — emphasis on both “we” in the plural sense and “live.”

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