Social Networking

      If asked, what would your definition of “social networking” be?  These two words when used together have morphed greatly in meaning through recent years.  Obviously, in the present day context social networking is considered to be any of the following–email, texting, Facebook, Twitter, etc. All of these forms of social networking have very little to do with truly being “social” as they are usually performed on a computer, phone, or some other device where only words are read and communicated. And, as we are involved in our present day social networking, we become absorbed, distracted, and even less “social” with the living breathing people around us. With this being the case, at what point are we allowing God time and opportunity to use us in reaching those we encounter on a daily basis.
     For Jesus, social networking was talking to the woman at the well, having conversations with fellow travelers as he journeyed on foot from town to town, teaching in the temple, feeding the five thousand, healing the sick. Involvement with the people in His path was a vital part of Jesus’ social networking, and great and mighty things were accomplished in the Kingdom of God as a result of that.
     Back in the “old days” when I was growing up, social networking consisted of time spent on front porches with family and neighbors, visiting with folks as you ran errands walking around the town square, welcoming new neighbors with a freshly baked cake. Once again, one on one contact with people was involved, giving you time discern a need to be met, just be there to listen, give a hug, or celebrate an accomplishment.
     Involvement in the lives of people beyond the words on a computer screen is what really makes social networking “social.”  My pastor bought this to my attention as he challenged us to reach out in the community through our social networking to reach the lost, to invite people to come to church to hear the word of God. It was at that moment that I realized that social networking means different things to different people this day and time. What does it mean to you–a short, uninvolved tweet to the universe, a facebook posting on your latest “status,” a quick email or text?  All of these are much less involved, less complicated ways to interact with people. However, God called us to true, active participation in the lives of people who need to hear from “skin on” Christians about Jesus.
     Does your “social networking” isolate you from people who need to hear the testimony of God’s saving grace in your life through His son Jesus Christ. Does it take you away from spending quality time with your own family?  If you find either of these to be true for you, take a moment to re-evaluate your own definition of this phrase and, with God’s help, make your social networking consist of God given opportunities to be used in the world around you. Now, I have kept you long enough. Turn off your computer, put away your mobile devices, and get to it!

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