Jump Start #3182
Jump Start # 3182
Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times. And a brother is born for adversity.”
A New York Post article reported that 1 out of 5 millennials have no friends. A third of the 20-30 something age group reported feeling lonely often or always. The survey also found that a huge 27% believe that they don’t need friends.
Now, analysists will dive into the various social causes of this such as the side effects of the pandemic or the culture of electronics and social media, but there is something to this that we ought to consider. God said it was not good for man to be alone. He did not provide a support animal for Adam. He made a woman to be his companion and wife. That was God’s solution to loneliness.
But this report ought to be something that shepherds in God’s kingdom pay attention to. There may will be some in the congregation who have no connections. They can sit in a large assembly on a Sunday morning, but they are alone. And, spiritually, this is not healthy nor the way God intended for things to be.
· The Christian who feels alone is more likely to keep things to himself. He becomes more vulnerable to the attacks of Satan. He doesn’t feel that he is a part of the kingdom. This loneliness invites discouragement and it is easy for such a person to fall through the cracks and drop out.
· The Biblical principles of fellowship and encouragement are wrapped around the concepts of togetherness. Acts 2 reminds us that the first disciples were together. And being together is more than sitting in a room with others. I can go to a movie and the theatre is filled, but I do not feel that I am together or connected. The same goes for flying on an airplane. Fellowship and encouragement are built upon sharing hearts, working together and having a common bond that unites us. The sharing of our stories builds hope for others. The prayers we offer for one another strengthens our souls. Going to a funeral home and seeing it packed with brethren brings such comfort to a grieving family.
· The belief that “I don’t need any friends,” is arrogant and missing what God designed. It’s not only about what you need, but it is also what you provide. Maybe you are convinced that you don’t need a friend, but there are others who do. You bring to the table a wealth of experience, love, knowledge and hope for others.
It is interesting when Elijah was sitting alone in the cave, hiding from Jezebel’s hitmen, surrounded with dark thoughts, discouragement and hopelessness that the Lord came and spoke to him. God told him to leave the cave and go appoint someone as king. That would put Elijah around others. That would get his mind off his situation. That would put some sunlight upon his body and his soul. Get around others, is what the Lord had him do. Get about doing what I want you to do is what God wanted him to do.
Now, think about one of these lonely millennials becoming a preacher or someday a shepherd in God’s church. That person may know the word of God, but without being able to connect with others, build relationships and help others, his work will be limited and not very successful. Jesus was around people. He was around people all the time. And, that example ought to help remind us of the value of worship. It’s not only to praise God, but it is to strengthen our souls and encourage our hearts.
So, what ought we to suggest to help with this? We cannot fix the world, but there are some things we can do.
First, it begins at home. Have people over. Have different people over. Have people that have kids that are your kids age over. Have older people over. Have younger people over. This is how friendships begin. To have friends, you must be friendly. Don’t talk about yourself. Hear the stories of others. Cook some great food. Get some games out. Watch a movie together. Get your kids involved in picking up and making the house inviting.
Now, don’t be that person that says, “No one ever invites me to their home.” You take the first step. You connect.
Second, look around during worship and notice who you do not know. You may know their names but that’s about it. You couldn’t say anything about where they work, where they grew up or really anything about them. Make it an effort to get to know them. I have found fascinating stories and wonderful people that were sitting right there every Sunday in the same building as I was in. Invite them out to eat one Sunday.
Third, pay attention especially to that millennial age group. They seem to have the most trouble in this area. Surveys of the generations before and after do not show the same loneliness that millennials are experiencing. Shepherds need to notice this. Develop some groups within the congregation that will pull people together. Notice who is coming to those groups and who is not. When one is not connected, it is easy to drop out.
A house full of people, a church full of people and a world full of people and yet a segment claims that they are lonely. It doesn’t have to be this way. Things can be done to make a difference and develop the spiritual type of friendships that will help you all of you life. You need friends. You need someone you can talk to. You need someone who will point you in the right direction and give you godly advice.
The best friend you can have is Jesus. I think of the hymn, “What a friend we have in Jesus.”