The Great Connector
People in the US are not living as long as they once did. Surprised? Me, too. But life expectancy here has had its largest decline since World War II. And in case you are thinking it is all about COVID…nope. This began years ago. 1
The problem is despair. But what is the cause? “For many, daily life lacks the structure, status and meaning that it once had…people feel less of a connection to an employer, a labor union, a church or community groups.” 2
Ah, there’s that word again…Connection. In a world that glorifies individuality, self-interest, being all that “I” can be, the lack of solid bonds and relationships with others leads to despair, emptiness, even hopelessness.
Connection draws different people together…
God is in the Connection business. Take Jesus for example. He was always connecting with people. All kinds of people. Good people. Bad people. The rich and powerful. The poor and helpless. Those who were loved and those who were hated.
Connection was important to Him. And not only for Himself but also for all who would follow Him. Remember, He called the disciples together. What an odd group. Different backgrounds, families, and often wildly different personalities.
There was arrogance, jealousy, anger and distrust. Yet in time there was Connection…even among them. There was a bond that tied them together, a mission they all shared. That bond was their love for Jesus. Their mission was to follow Him.
…to become like-minded in following Jesus.
Connection helps us grow into the people we are called to be. We get to practice humility, kindness, gentleness, mercy, forgiveness, respect…loving one another. We become stronger…individually, as a family, and in our relationship with God.
There’s something else I have learned about all this. Connection isn’t so much about the opportunities we create, but the opportunities God provides. He is the Great Connector, leading us to people and people to us, often in amazing, miraculous ways.
It’s about following Jesus. If we do as He did, live as He lived, obey as He has commanded us, we will experience Connection as never before. We will love and be loved. And despair, emptiness and hopelessness will fade from our lives. Sound good?
Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa, an international ministry devoted to encouraging others and teaching them how to encourage one another. He is also an author and speaker. Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. Learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at www.Ciloa.org.
Footnotes: (1) The Morning article by David Leonhardt, The New York Times, July 22, 2021. (2) Statement by Princeton University economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton about “deaths of despair”.
Pictures: Banner Photo: Despair by Art Meripol, from Despair is killing Americans by Jennifer Graham, March 9, 2018, The Desert News. 1st Photo: Quote of Soren Kierkegaard, Quotefancy. 2nd Photo: Meet People Where They’re At by Jacek Dylag, Unsplash. 3rd Photo: Who is Limos, Unsplash.