There are 7,609,617,230 people besides you living on planet Earth right now. That number increases by an average of 97,400 people every day. Over 326,000,000 of those people live in the United States of America, the third most populated nation on Earth. 10,500,000 Americans reside in the state of Georgia, and close to 140,000 Georgia residents live right here in our county.
For a guy with my personality, these are exciting numbers. I am a relationally driven extrovert with a natural desire for connection and conversation. A day filled with abundant human interaction excites and energizes me, especially when the dialogue moves beyond ordinary small talk or a brief greeting. I cannot interact with every person on the planet, but population data reminds us that there are plentiful connection opportunities for us each day. More importantly, there are lots and lots of unique souls alive right now that God loves deeply and sent His son to die for.
Whether your personality is like mine or not, God’s clear design is for human beings to interact with one another regularly. No one is wired for or intended to live in isolation, but sadly, modern research indicates our world is more lonely and socially deprived than ever. The non-stop progression of technology and increasing consumer convenience are making everyday interaction less common or even necessary. Some of us no longer shop for our own groceries, and perhaps the majority of your daily “socializing” occurs while staring at a soul-less screen. “Social” media has hardly made us more social; more likely, it has made us more cynical and judgmental of the people around us.
Despite these cultural shifts and the decrease of everyday human interaction, God’s plan to the reach the world remains unchanged. We, God’s dearly loved sons and daughters, are Plan A for reaching those around us. There is no Plan B. 2 Corinthians 5:20 reminds us that we are Christ’s ambassadors, and He is making His appeal to the world through us. Therefore, we must pursue one another with the love of Christ and consistently connect with each other through conversation and shared community. It’s not a convenient or narcissistic plan. It’s not the path of least resistance, and it will require that we tear down the barriers we have put in place to shield ourselves from others. Godly love and authentic connection require self denial, sacrifice, and a servant’s heart.
I challenge you to renew your commitment to connection, conversation, and community with others this week. Invite people to church or work on building relationships with those around you. Don’t be afraid of strangers! Everyone you come in contact with deserves a warm, personalized invitation. Don’t let your non-social media platforms do all your talking and interacting for you. God didn’t have Facebook posts and creative digital graphics in mind when He commanded us to love others and make disciples. Jesus began His ministry on Earth by establishing genuine relationships and personally inviting people to be a part of the greatest mission of all time. The strategy of God has been the same ever since. It works, and you were designed to be a part of it. Make it your priority to speak up and speak into the lives of those around you!