I was overjoyed this weekend to fellowship, hug, laugh, eat, and pray with women. I have “connected” with some of them over the past several months and others for over a year. Prior to this weekend, I connected with these ladies via email, blogs, Facebook, Skype and Twitter. It was quite comforting to see these women up close and personal. It felt like a family reunion of sorts, minus the drama (of course).
Something special happens when we actually connect with others. Connecting is more that networking. Networking is oftentimes about what you can get or what some else has to offer you. Connecting, on the other hand, is a mutual exchange between two givers. What is your motivation for entering into a relationship with another? Connecting births communities, networking creates business alliances. Somehow, I believe that Christians have a higher calling concerning both practices.
Think about an interview. Folks present their resumes in advance, so if you are asked to interview, it is because somebody believes that you are qualified to do the job. The purpose of the interview is to determine if they want to work with you or not. The interview determines the promise of a potential relationship. Christianity is not simply a religion, it is a relational faith. Our faith is what we bring to the table when you engage others in various relationships: work, church, family, neighborhood, school, etc.
Our motivation for connecting and the way that we connect can radically change us individually, birth new relationships, and transform our communities and areas of influence. By connecting socially, I love encouraging others and being encouraged, I love partnering with them in prayer, I love rejoicing at successes and mourning during times of suffering, I love being challenged by my friends in spite of the many miles that separate us. What a blessing it is that we are able to connect in this way?
I was listening to the end of a lecture on the book of Romans where the professor reminded us of the importance of connecting. Paul closes his letter in a word of grace and lists the names of fellow brothers and sisters who we often gloss over. This gesture is a reminder to us that Paul is dealing with real people. His connection is not superficial in a selfish networking sense of the practice, but even from a distance, Paul is in a spiritual network of fellow believers whom he loves.
Isn’t that the point of connecting: to live in community (as family members, neighbors, or friends) with those we love and to remind each other of the love that Jesus has for us?
What is your concept of connecting? How well do you connect? How has making connections challenged you?
© Natasha S. Robinson 2011
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