Connections are powerful things. In Spanish the word ‘con’ [cone] means ‘with’. More than ever before I am convinced of the importance of connections in life. Today this truth was emphasized in various ways.
Our truck has been acting up a bit lately. We had a hunch it had something to do with the battery. This morning I got to the grocery store just fine. When we went to leave it wouldn’t turn over. After trying to figure out the solution myself I decided to let it sit there until the afternoon when the stores would be back open after siesta. As I was hanging out with my kids the thought occurred to me to call someone for help. Our good friends came to the rescue immediately. After checking the water levels on the cells, not finding any corrosion, and noting that it was a newish battery he wiggled the connections. Yep, the positive was loose. He sent me to his house where his son was able to tighten the connection with a socket wrench. I think that connection was the whole issue.
How wonderful that the problem was solved because of the connection we have with our friends. I thank God for the good friends he has given us.
The gal who helps me in my house told me that the washing machine wasn’t working. Later she told me that the water hose was not connected right. She solved the problem on her own. Again, it was an issue of connection.
This last trip to the States was put together by connections. The car we used was graciously provided by a missionary in Kenya whom I have never met face to face, never even spoken with her. Our only connection is the blogoshpere. The house we stayed at the weekend before the conference was found for us by another blogging friend who got the word out on facebook and within minutes was chatting with a wonderful someone who opened her home (and consequently her heart) to us. She and her husband and son are amazing people. Even the conference admission was made available to us by the scholarship of some dear friends. All these people are genuine and I am honored to be connected to them.
I could not leave a discussion about connectedness without talking about our connection with God.
Have you heard about: Believe, Behave, and Belong? These three words are emphasized in a certain order in our churches when we talk about a relationship with God. Usually the order is: we are going to get you to believe, then you are going to clean up your behavior, and then you can finally belong as one of us. The perception of outsiders when they look at us might be actually a bit more dire. They might see: I have to behave properly so that I can even think about believing in God, then one day I might be accepted and belong if I work hard enough. Both patterns are prevalent if you really think about it. But is this truly the message that we want to send to people? I think not.
Let’s look at a more effective pattern. I think you will agree that this is actually the pattern that this generation, in particular, desires. Here is the new way: I extend to you complete acceptance based on nothing else than your intrinsic value as a unique and wonderful creation of God – you belong before anything else happens, then as you sense that belonging you can begin to believe in all who God is and what He is about, finally, as that assurance grows a relationship of trust is established with God and His people so that some of the behaviors that might not actually stem from a motive of love can be worked on a changed. What is the difference with the older models and this new idea? Connection. You begin with connection and move from there.
Connections are powerful things.