Encouragement From The Word

Where People Are

            When I jumped in and became blogger a few weeks back, a good friend of mine suggested that I also join Facebook.  I resisted, principally because I feared the time it would usurp from both my work and my hobbies.  I’ve heard some horror stories of people who got no work done because of their time spent on Facebook – and some employers who banned their employees from using it at work!  Did I really want to become part of such a network?


            I wasn’t sure.  But a couple of weeks ago, I gave in.  Why?  One simple reason:  to promote my blog!


            That being said, there have been some positive off-shoots from this.  I’ve reconnected with people I haven’t seen in twenty-plus years.  I’ve made some new “friends” (electronically speaking).  I’ve honed my multi-tasking skills.  (Ever tried to watch hockey, write a blog posting, talk to your spouse, and play 3 games of Scrabulous, all at the same time?)


            But the main purpose remains:  I joined Facebook to promote my blog, and thereby to help people think about what it means to have a relationship with God (or to draw them deeper in their walk). 


            I never considered myself a decent candidate for blogging or Facebook, quite frankly, but I jumped in anyway.  Why?  Because that’s where people “are”.


            A congregation I once served was planning to have a “Bring A Friend” Sunday.  When one person in the church family announced to me that she had no friends who didn’t go to church, I suggested to her that she needed some new friends!  Followers of Jesus can’t be isolated.  We must be engaged with the world.  We aren’t to be ‘of’ the world, but we do have to be ‘in’ it.


            I love what the apostle Paul told the Corinthian church when he was both defending himself and telling the church that he had given up his rights as an apostle:  I try to find common ground with everyone so that I might bring them to Christ.  I do all this to spread the Good News, and in doing so I enjoy its blessings” (1 Corinthians 9.22b-23, NLT).  When Paul was hanging around with Jews, he acted like a Jew.  When he was hanging around Gentiles, he acted like a Gentile.  He wasn’t being a chameleon in any malevolent sense:  he was just trying to fit in with the culture so that his message – uncompromised – would be heard.


            Being engaged with the world while not compromising our message is one of the great challenges for the Christ-follower of the twenty-first century.  But God, who is full of grace, gives us the ability to do it.  Whether it’s something simple like Facebook, or something more challenging like learning to eat the food of another culture, we can do it.  We have the best reason of all:  to bring people to Christ.