Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "All The Way My Saviour Leads Me"1 (Lyrics)
1 Corinthians 13:13 – And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (NIV)
I received an e-mail recently called Church Services in the Near Future, which described a service where everything took place through iPads, tablets, smartphones, and Kindle Bibles. The sermon came by download, the offering was given by electronic funds transfer, and the announcement list included cell groups that met by Skype. Although social media increase some forms of sharing, I notice that we are increasingly absorbed in our own personal digital world, and it made me wonder if there is a net loss of community. Is it that people no longer take the time to draw near to another person in some deep sharing? Is this possible online or are we losing the togetherness of community? How then will God's love spread in future generations?
I listened to a grandmother on the telephone recently, worrying about her grandchildren. But they never wanted to stop long enough to hear anything about their grandma's childhood when she was their age. A young adult friend noted that we don't take the time for togetherness when the television is on to our favourite show. Everyone is working long hours now, so active, so involved, but there is little interest or concern for deep sharing, which takes time. Just getting to know someone and their story deeply enough in the sharing of God's love takes time.
Can we say that we are fast approaching a world that has lost any sense of community when people knew their friends' needs and acted on them? This is a scary thought but a profound one. Hope is shared. Faith is shared. Love is shared — all deepen through the sharing. Without real community, who experiences any of them in depth?
Do we need to be praying that with Jesus' Spirit within us, we will experience God's love, and know how to share it? Yes, Lord. Today, let's take the time to pray for the lonely and depressed. As we reach out to others, we will know the deep, enriching community that supports the soul and offers love for one another. This passage puts it distinctly:
Colossians 3:12–14 – Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (NIV)
Yes, we need to be constantly praying for our families, our grandchildren, and our church families, that we may all realize how dearly loved we are. Then we can practice life in the wonderful clothes of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. This is what forms a wonderfully close community all around us, but it takes time.
Prayer: Dear Lord, we see families suffering and our church family decreasing. We are all so involved and busy. We ask that You would fill us with Your love, that we may be able to reach out to others with compassion in a fast-changing society where we no longer live in close community with each other. There are many lonely people in our district. Lord, lead us to them, that we may be able to share Your love and compassion. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.