While catching up with a close friend today, we talked about the high value of community. The reality of having people in our world that know, love and care for each other through all of the ups and downs, successes and failures, victories and defeats, etc.

He began to describe what his journey to the suburbs was like. After years of working hard, building his family and finding success in his job, he realized that his journey led him to a startling reality. “I live in a beautiful neighborhood, but there is no community here.”

This is yet another reminder that the pursuit of success and prosperity often times leads to us building walls of seclusion. There is nothing wrong with building beautiful homes behind beautiful gates, but many times those gates can lead to lives that are lived without true community.

Our challenge as we all continue to work hard and continue to move forward is to remember to work equally hard in making sure the gates of our lives are open to friendship and accountability. We are operating in the most healthy context when we realize that we are all uniquely gifted and mutually dependent on others. We are wired that way. God created us to need others to operate properly (Romans 12:1-8).

What gates do you have locked shut in your life that keep people at a distance? And are you willing to unlock those gates and let people into your life?

Finding true community is no easy task. But at the end of the day, you realize that people know you, love you and accept you for who you really are, not for what you do, what you own or where you have been. You may have a beautiful neighborhood, but always remember that true beauty is found in community.