As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. –Proverbs 27:17
Does anyone else feel like we are living in an upside down world?
Future generations will read about us and judge how we handled this time. I am curious what they will think about how we, the people, those of us who profess to be believers, handled our current situation. It is hard to know which way is up.
While driving, I’ve noticed several of these signs along the roadside: No close encounters of any kind
No close encounters of any kind?!
What does that even mean? We need close encounters with one another now more than ever. We must fight to stay connected with one another; thankfully, we have several methods at our disposal to safely do so despite the current restrictions.
God did not make us to live alone. He created us to have close encounters with each other, to fellowship and be in relationship with one another, to build each other up and support one another. He never meant for any of us to walk through this life alone.
Isolation can be debilitating. Loneliness is a very real condition. None of us should feel alone during this time.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV)
During this time of social distancing, we must creativity orchestrate close encounters with one another. Do not forsake the fellowship of believers. Do not forget to reach out and encourage one another.
Check in with your people, co-workers, friends, neighbors. Connect in new ways. Smile and wave to people you pass. Smiles are contagious- and free! Pray for your neighbors, pray for your enemies. Pray for those in leadership. Pray for those who are self-isolating, that they may be encouraged and that the Holy Spirit would give them comfort in an extremely difficult time.
For your own sake as well as theirs; we all need encouragement and we all need to know that none of us are in this alone. We are all members of the body of Christ and we need to remember that we all need each other. Thankfully, the Word of God gives us plenty of instruction for times such as these. He is not surprised by this current trial. He was not caught unaware and He has not forsaken us.
For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in ALL circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.-1 Thessalonians 5 9-18
We live in a time where, thankfully, we have so many tools we can utilize to stay in contact and connect with others. Obviously, it is not the same as a face to face connection, but with just a little creativity, you can still reach out and even ‘see’ others. You can orchestrate close encounters through a phone call, text messages, zoom meetings, face-time, or even a good old fashioned letter or care package. I am encouraged and loving hearing about all the creative ways people are reaching out and supporting one another.
There is really no excuse to not be connected during all of this.
Some are grocery shopping for the vulnerable, leaving groceries on the porch for those in need. Have you guys seen posts with the drive by birthday parades? Others have reached out through good ol’ fashioned mail, sending encouraging letters, cards, or care packages. Others are setting up Zoom meetings, doing church or devotional check-ins online. Some have started group texts – even those who don’t like group texts! There’s even an app out there that allows you to play games with each other virtually! Online church is going strong- if you have internet, you have so many live or recorded church services available to stay encouraged. There’s even a way to watch movies together online! Don’t forget that a simple phone call or text is one of the easiest ways to stay connected.
Close encounters are needed now more than ever before.
Reach out to someone today! And keep reaching out. We need one another.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 (NIV)