Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Romans 12:15-16
The term “social capital” has become popular among social analysts to explain the value of community, connectedness and a sense of belonging. It’s 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 he saw it wasn’t enough. We need relationships with people.
I read recently about an Australian girl who visited a community of people in Mexico who were very poor in terms of money, but 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 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,” since it was part of their culture.
In Australia, we tend to focus on monetary values. We don’t usually consider how we spend our time and money in terms of their emotional benefits. Research shows that people with high levels of social capital are healthier, less prone to depression and live longer. Consequently, governments are looking at ways of helping people to better connect.
God in his wisdom has placed us in a community of believers so that we might enjoy an abundance of social capital.