I heard it again recently. "Jesus is all we need."
It sounds spiritual. You can say it with the right cadence and all and get a group of enthusiastic "Amens". It sounds good. But is it true?
I would argue it is not true. Jesus is not all we need. He never intended to be all we need. He never promised to be all we need. We are promised that He will provide all we need, not that He is all we need.
We need the Bible. I had someone email me not too long ago. They had just placed their faith in Christ and wanted me to send him a Bible. I did so, as well as pointing him to a church in his area. He had Jesus. But Jesus was not all he needed. He needed a Bible.
We need the Holy Spirit. We need Him to comfort our souls and convict us and guide us and be the presence of God with us every day.
We need the church, the bride of Christ. We need a worshipping community. We need friends. We need people's names scribbled on the outside of our phone book. We need community.
John Ortberg has a great new book called, Everyone seems normal till you get to know them. In it, he references a great body of current research on loneliness in society and its effects. One of the primary books he quotes is Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam. There is an epidemic of loneliness in our culture. Here is some summaries from this research.
People who are not in a group are twice as likely to die in the next year as those who are in a group. Now, there is a selling point for you small group: join our group and cut your chances of dying in half!
People who have strong social connections but poor health habits (eating, exercise, etc.) are just as healthy as those with weak social connection and good health habits. As Ortberg says it, "Better to eat Twinkies with friends than broccoli alone."
There was a gradual rise of participation in Bowling leagues and PTAs and church attendance over the first two thirds of the last century. Then, mysteriously and more or less simultaneously, we stopped doing all those things less often. The result is, we don't have friends any more. We just watch Friends on TV.
One study injected 270 people with a virus that causes the common cold. Those with strong social connections did not get as sick, did not stay sick as long, and produced less mucus than the less connected group.
Again, to quote Ortberg, "This just proves that unfriendly people really are snottier than the rest of us."
According to Martin Seligman people are now 10 times more likely to be depressed. Do you think there is a relationship between these two bodies of information? We need community.
People don't just need Jesus. We do need Christ, but we also need the body of Christ. We need people, God's representatives to love and care and listen.
Now, more than ever, people need Jesus and His body.