The term "social capital" has become popular among social analysts to explain the value of community, connectedness and a sense of belonging. It is something God knew long before we coined a term for it. We read in Genesis 2:18, "It is not good for the man to be alone." God had created light, sky, land, vegetation, sun, moon, fish, birds and animals. All the resources necessary to sustain life yet God knew it wasn't enough. People need relationships with others.
A young Australian girl came home profound impacted after visiting a community of people in Mexico who were very poor in terms of money but very rich in terms of social capital. They valued belonging to a community where they felt connected. Celebrations, weddings, birthdays and religious occasions were important to them because of the relationships they have with each other. They were very accepting and tolerant of others. They lived in "harmony with one another" and didn't need to be told to "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn" (Romans 12:15), it was already part of their culture.
However in western culture we tend to value things in terms of their monetary value. We don't usually consider how we spend our time and money in terms of social capital. Research however shows that people with high levels of social capital are healthier, less prone to depression and live longer. Governments are now looking at ways to increase people's social capital.
God in his wisdom has placed us in a community of believers so that we might enjoy an abundance of social capital. Sometimes this stretches our patience and requires us to be tolerant of others who have different ideas and customs. However it also provides us with people who will support us, pray for us and comfort us in our spiritual journey.
Let's make the effort to avail ourselves of the social capital that God has provided for us.
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