Golden Connections!

I enjoyed a special breakfast meeting this week with a couple of dear friends at one of our favorite restaurants. It had been a few years since we had all been together with each other in person. The three of us slid into the booth and the conversation immediately commenced. For what seemed like a few minutes, but spanned a couple of hours, we chatted, laughed, and shared life with each other! We just picked up where we last left off! I have repeatedly over the years experienced this gift and dynamic of true friendship!

Image credit: vecteezy.com

During this same week, I had conversations with three other friends. One said, “I sure do miss our small group meetings!” Another commented, “I so appreciate everyone’s prayers on my behalf!” And another newer friend suggested, “Why don’t we get together soon? I want to run some things by you!” My life is rich with such friendships! I find relational value in each encounter! I need that regular relational connection and I sense my friends need it, too!

In C.S. Lewis’ book, The Four Loves, he writes about the strength and blessing of a circle of friends. He notes, “The love in a perfect friendship is often so great and so firmly based that each member of the circle feels… humbled before the rest. Sometimes he wonders what he is doing there among the betters… especially when the whole group is together, each bringing out all that is best, wisest, or funniest in all the others.” Lewis exclaims, “Those are golden sessions!” (p.91).

“Why do we need to connect with others?” and “How does it happen?” Let’s address the first about why connection is essential. Most of us remember how lonely and isolated we felt just a few years ago during the Pandemic. We were in a social lockdown that seemed to go on forever! You don’t have to have a degree in psychology to know the toll that time of isolation took on our mental health. It was stressful. We all need meaningful interactions with significant others!

Then, how do we go about connecting with others who can bring value into our lives? In short, move toward people and not away from them! Place yourself in healthy settings where you can “rub shoulders” with encouraging people. I believe that attending a local church gives us the best exposure to worship, study, service, and fellowship opportunities that will connect us with others. Start with a commitment to every Sunday in-person worship and join a small group (even online) if you want to grow in relational connection. These are two practical and easy steps we can take in building better connections.

Often, you’ll read in the Bible how the early believers intentionally sought out opportunities to connect. “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching, to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer… And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had… They worshiped together at the Temple each day.” (Acts 2:42-46, NLT). It was that genuine sense of “togetherness” and connection that made the early church healthy and growing.

How are you doing in the connection category these days? Are you moving toward people? What steps do you need to take in becoming better at relating to others? Pray about this and develop a strategy for growth in this area. You will need to adjust your schedule to free up time for connection. Be patient and expect this process to take some time and effort!

I predict that with every intentional investment you make in building friendship connections, you will experience a growing feeling that, “These are golden connections!”

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,

active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com

  

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