So here’s the scene: Holly and I are coming from Starbucks, and in the middle of the road on a very busy thoroughfare is a stranded car. The owner, standing next to the driver’s side door looks a little perplexed and confused, but behind the car is “a savior”… a man poised to help the owner.
We pull up to the car and ask what is going on, and the savior says he is going to push the car to the side so he can jump it. We ask if he needs help, and he does the stereotypical “man” thing… “no, I got it“.
You have the option of having someone help you push a car out of the road, but you decline… For what? What do you have to gain by doing this?
I don’t blame him (yes I do 😉 ). I actually blame society. Increasingly we have seen us moving away from real relationship and dependency on each other, focusing on what we can do alone. Social Media used to be about sharing lives together… now it is about posting to enhance “my brand” and to get followers… businesses do “charity” work so they can show they are a caring business – but is it care or marketing?
Thankfully, not everyone is like this. I have found community in many places that truly believes in connecting with each other, helping each other, and being a part of each other’s lives. These days real community may seem to be a novel idea, but it is far from new. Much more than an old campaign slogan, it truly does take a village to raise a child. An additional African proverb tells both where we seem to be as a society, and where we can go: If you want to go quickly, go alone… If you want to go far, go together.
Now, I am sure that Mr. Savior could have pushed the car all by himself. I have had to do it many times, so it is not a question of ability. And it is possible that he was considering that I had things to do and he didn’t want to trouble me with having to help. His response though… it was unfortunately focused on self, even while trying to help the owner of the car. When it comes to giving or receiving aid, both sides really should be based in humility:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselvesPhilippians 2:3 ESV
When helping other people occurs because we can truly see the value in that person, we begin to have synergistic community – a community that is bigger than the sum of the parts. Pushing cars becomes that much easier. Achieving goals happens sooner. And each person’s life is that much richer.
As a man, let me especially tell you men (and young men) out there: you are not Superman (or insert your superhero of choice 🙂 ). You need other men and women just as much, if not more than they need you. Asking for or accepting help is not a sign of weakness, but of strength. When Jesus was about to go through his toughest trial, he asked his closest friends to be there with him. I wouldn’t count the Son of God as a wimp.
So, let’s move away from the “every man is an island” mentality that so permeates our society these days, and seek to be people that both help, and accept the contributions of others. It just makes us all better, and better connected. As my contact Nate Frazier is known to both say and emulate, “Community, baby!”
I connected with Stephen Green and Nate Frazier on Twitter. These two are great examples of people who have made their own mark in business, but even more, who consistently help entrepreneurs and small businesses in the greater Portland Oregon area start, grow, expand and thrive. I love the fact that they focus, not on the “big heavy hitters”, but on those entrepreneurs who have traditionally been left out of the game: small businesses, minorities, women, people of color, etc. They are not only great people with whom to connect, but they rally people like you and me to get involved with those who could use a hand in the community. You can find out more about Stephen at thatblatinoguy.com, and Nate at SwellPDX.com.
When I started going to Mountainview Christian Church in Gresham, Oregon, I felt at home, but that’s not what keeps me coming. It’s the sense of community that I feel from the moment I walk through the door. For Mountainview, that community spirit spreads all across the globe, but there is one area that is particularly noteworthy: No One Left Behind is a ministry of Mountainview that not only serves, but builds relationships with the impoverished residents of East Multnomah County. This is not about giving people hand outs. It is about recognizing and helping them recognize their unique value and giving them a place in the community. You can find out more about what Mountainview is doing by going to their website, mvcclive.com, or better yet, show up to one of the services on Sunday. 🙂
My People’s Market in Portland, Oregon started as a method to get entrepreneurs, particularly people of color connected with market opportunities they previously did not have. The market celebrations bring together both entrepreneurs and community, showcasing the businesses and value that they bring, along with music, great food and other entertainment. Whether you are a business person or a consumer, this is an event that is not to be missed. Catch all the action November 8th and 9th, 2019. For more information, look at their website, mypeoplesmarket.com.
thank you to AZQuotes.com for the use of the Booker T Washington image and quote, so totally apropos for this article! 😀