Commanded to Connect

January 5, 2016

I love to stay connected. As the youngest of five children, I naturally want my family to stay in touch and stay close together – that’s my comfort zone. That’s probably why God called me to move 2,000 miles away. But thanks to technology, I am able to keep in close contact with all of them.

In this age, we have more resources at our fingertips than ever before. At any point in time, I am able to call, Skype, text or tweet my family and friends around the world. But what about the relationships that are nearby me? Why is it that I can spend hours connecting with those who are far away and yet, I haven’t had my neighbor over for dinner yet. Because it may not be comfortable.

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” – John 13:34-45

Relationships take time, they take vulnerability and humility. Relationships will starve if effort and intentionality is not being continually poured into them. Facebook may be a great way to keep tabs on how people say they are doing, but sitting with someone over a cappuccino and speaking to them face to face – listening to their thoughts and sharing in their dreams – this unlocks barriers and opens doors that may otherwise stay shut. This is what Jesus did.

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.  And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:24-25

Jesus shows Himself in relationships that are intentional, personal, and pure. We long for these types of meaningful relationships but all too often, we look for them in the wrong places. Relationships with people are designed to create a spirit of life and encouragement, not comparison or guilt. By walking with people, not just retweeting or “liking” people’s posts on social media, we are able to find meaning and value in community, which God designed for us to engage in.

This year, I want to be intentional. Not only making sure that I know how my mom’s weekend at the lake was, or how my nieces are learning to “cartwheel” (which, right now, looks more like a seagull dive-bombing a potato chip), but I want to be intentional about reaching out to my neighbors. When others take time out of their day to stop what they’re doing, put down their smartphone, and ask me about my life – about things that matter to me – that’s meaningful, but it’s also rare. It should’t be! And it doesn’t have to be. I want to share that meaningfulness with others. This year, I want to be interruptible and available to share my life with others, and let them share their lives with me, no hashtags needed.

“‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12.31