Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do. – 2 Corinthians 5:14
So, naturally, we proclaim Christ! We warn everyone we meet, and we teach everyone we can, all that we know about him, so that, if possible, we may bring every man up to his full maturity in Christ. This is what I am working at all the time, with all the strength that God gives me. – Colossians 1:28-29
In college Bible study on Monday, we discussed our motivation for interacting with others and talk eventually turned to “How do we do this in real life?” (a.k.a. practical application).
Someone mentioned that the way the students live now, the habits they form, and the way they choose to apply life lessons are good indicators of how they will act after college. As I considered that, I realized how true it is of my life, particularly the way I approach relationships and community.
In college, I looked for ways to interact with people and get to know their stories and what they were enthusiastic about. As I grew to know them, I tried to include them in whatever I was doing – hanging out in the library between classes, game nights, Bible studies, campus events, lunches in the cafeteria, and so on. I enjoyed introducing people and seeing them form friendships. I offered an invitation for people to connect with me and others, to be part of a community on whatever level they chose. Some of them accepted and some did not, but I still communicated that I cared and liked them as they were and liked having them around.
I have been out of college for years and I do not have opportunities to interact with as many people now, but I still invite people into my life and community. Off the top of my head, I can think of a number of people just from work who have accepted my invitations to float trips, lunches, Bible studies, game nights, church, murder mystery night, coffee, etc. in the past year. This is not about having an active social life or about how many people I know, I want to meet people where they are and share lives with them because they matter to Christ and to me.
I don’t use myself as an example because I have this figured out or because I think I got it right but because I tried. Sometimes this seems to work and sometimes it does not. I still keep watching for opportunities to connect with people on a personal level, to get to know them, to look for opportunities to invite and include them.
I love people, talk to them, invite them into my life (and share theirs). I listen to God and love Him and spend time with Him and obey Him. That is my part. God’s part is the internal, heart-and-soul work I don’t always see.