I picked up a copy of Jesse Rice’s book The Church of Facebook: How the Hyperconnected Are Redefining Community on the recommendation of Relevant Magazine. I am only about 50 pages into it, but I thought that I would jump a little bit into a few verses that we see from one angle, but may miss from a second, yet equally important angle.
18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman, ‘ for she was taken out of man.”
24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
At times when we here a sermon on this passage, or read articles about these verses, the topic of marriage is discussed. While this is vital (marriage between a man and a woman), Rice brings up a great point. In verses 19 and 20, God brings Adam every single animal to name with the hopes that Adam will find a suitable helper. Unfortunately, not a single animal was suitable for Adam’s liking.
God created something that appears to be incomplete. It’s broken. Did God make a mistake? How does God deal with the fact that it is “not good for the Man to be alone”? The answer is much deeper than it appears. Not only does God give Adam any helper, but one that appears to provide a certain depth or quality of connection. God’s response is the creation of a “helper suitable for him”. To be clear, God was not making a statement about gender roles. Instead, God clarifies that the fullness of who we are as humans, the fullness of our humanity, can only be expressed in its entirety through a relationship with a helper that is suitable.
The key word in verse 18 is “suitable”. Who would suit Adam the best? What relationship would suit Adam the best? What relationship would not only supply Adam with the basic need for home, but also help him grow and flourish? Fish, despite their color, did not suit Adam. Could a long necked giraffe provide this relationship? Could a parrot be taught enough to provide this need for a suitable relationship? Adam was in the garden of Eden, the most beautiful place here on Earth-couldn’t the beauty of the plants and the care that they required have been enough for Adam to connect with?
While it was important to connect and take care of creation (as it is important for us to do yet today), the only place that Adam could find this deep connection was with another human being. He needed someone who matched him just right, a suitable helper and that is just who he got, Eve (for which Adam was the suitable helper for). Adam was surrounded by beauty that we can only imagine. He was surrounded by other creatures. He lived in a world in that he could connect with anything that he wanted to, yet he found nothing that was suitable for him.
In creating Adam and Eve (and every single man and woman since) “in His image” and bringing them to a unique relationship with Himself, as well as each other, God showed that the number of connections does not matter, but rather it is the quality of those connections.
Why does this matter?
Think about your average day.
You wake up. Check email before you head into the office (maybe even Facebook). You check email again once you get into work. You keep outlook open so you don’t miss that important email. You’re running late to your son’s baseball game so you stop at McDonald’s. You get to your sons game and keep your Blackberry on, just in case that important email comes. You get on Facebook. You head home. Kiss your kids goodnight. You watch some television. Get on Facebook.
Not a single one of these activities are necessarily bad (except for McDonald’s. Your doctor may not approve), but where is the interaction with other humans. Sure, we may be around hundreds of people each and every day, but If we are made to be with other people, when are we getting that quality connection?
Are you getting that connection from your thousands of friends on Facebook?
From the hundreds of followers on Twitter?
Your administrative assistant at work?
The McDonald’s employee?
I am convinced that quality relationships take time to develop. You more than likely won’t meet someone and be willing to share your entire life story right there on the spot. It will take time for you to feel comfortable to share such intimate details with people. However, once you reach a point in your friendships, once you reach that quality of friendship, you keep coming back. You want more.
Take time in life to get to know people.
Go catch a baseball game together.
Go get coffee with each other.
Invite them over for dinner.
“Lean upon me, I’ll lean upon you, We’ll be okay.” – Dave Matthews Band