As I’m sitting in my local coffee shop, where i also work, I look around and see technology ruling our lives. I see friends laughing over a picture online. I see couples taking pictures of each other to post online professing their love to each other rather than just saying those words aloud. I see coffee being photographed to fit our Instagram aesthetic. I see myself staring into a laptop screen with headphones in, closed off to those around me. We’re all guilty of each of these things.
We claim our community is built in coffee shops over a weekly latte. But are we lying to ourselves? Is our take on community confined to a once a week catch up and then a few likes across social media?
How often are you sitting with your friend, leaning into vulnerability, and the phone buzzes. Your friend John just liked your post. You open the notification. Your friend still talking about life situations. You start aimlessly scrolling through recent posts. Your friend still talking about life, but slowly fading out due to your lack of attention. You show her your ex’s picture with a new gal. You just unknowingly missed out on walking alongside your friend in her mess. You chose to fall into the patterns of the world and connect more through an app than a relational face-to-face opportunity.
I do that more times than I can count. Its a sad reality of what rules our lives. We connect more through our phones than with God’s creation right in front of us. We spend our time with the Lord easily distracted by technology. We go to sleep with the last thing we do being on our phones, we wake up in the morning by our phone and continue to waste the stillness of the morning by checking instagram and comparing what our lives could be. I am such a victim!!! Instagram creates inside of me a jealousy because I see the picture perfect moments that people post. Why the heck do we let that start our day instead of going to the feet of Jesus first.
Community to Jesus wasn’t a coffee date once a week. It wasn’t a continuous like on photos. He didn’t post a picture of peter and explain to the world how great he is, instead he spoke of those things out loud. He lived with his disciples. He walked alongside his disciples. He went through life with each of them. He saw the messes within and daily sought them out.
I like to create scenarios for what it would look like if Jesus was calling his disciples in modern day. He wouldn’t have commented on peter’s photo of him fishing and ask him to come hangout, He went to where peter was. In John, where Jesus calls Philip and Nathanael, it says Jesus found Philip. He didn’t stumble upon him, he intentionally sought to find him. Jesus also found Nathanael before He was even told to come follow Him. Jesus said to him “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before philip called you”. He met Simon Peter and his brother where they were at, on a fishing boat. He didn’t wait for them to come to him. He knew they would be fishing so He went there.
Jesus was intentional with building community. He didn’t rely on a messenger to do His work. He met his friends where they were at. He didn’t friend them on Facebook, follow them on instagram, or share his location on find my friends. He went to them. He shased after them.
If we live our lives chasing community as Jesus did, our lives would start changing. our ministry would start improving, accountability would be present, our friendships would be deeper than a two word reply when asked how we’re doing.
Now imagine the same story from earlier but a little different,
your friend is pouring out how their heart has been doing, your phone isn’t even with you because you left it in the car. You listen to their mess. You meet them where they’re at. You don’t try and connect through technology, you don’t promise her a consistent like on instagram posts. You don’t show them a better scenario and how you wish life was like that. You promise to walk alongside. You promise to love when it sucks. You promise that if they pursue Jesus, life gets better.
You begin to meet Jesus more through the person in front of you, rather than reading a bible verse your friend just posted.
I want to encourage you to put down your phone. Leave it in the car. Choose into the ones around you. Pursue their hearts. Chase love.
Start by bringing light into yours and their mess. Don’t kick it under the rug for no one to see. Reveal the hardened parts of your heart. Let someone in, because the more light you allow in, means the closer you are to letting the Lord heal.
Jesus sought to build community so we could see that we indeed can not do this thing alone. Jesus pursued his disciples and their hearts even on the day He went to the cross. In His messiest 24 hours ever, He still pursued love towards his disciples.
Chase after doing life with those around you and actually do life alongside them. Don’t just text them once a week and ask how they’re doing. Its too easy to hide behind a phone screen.
Community is far more important than creating a good instagram aesthetic by taking picture of the coffee date.
Until next time, your companion on this journey