Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete. 2 John 1:12 ESV
I have a quick exercise for you…. How many people did you connect with yesterday on your phone? I was sick yesterday, but still managed to text 5 people, email 6 others and connect with several others on Facebook and other apps. Overall, it was a low day for me. Second question: how many people did you have a face-to-face conversation with yesterday? For me, I only had a face-to-face with my wife. Technology so quickly changes our relationships to the point that I suspect you “connected” with many more people virtually yesterday than you did in person.
On one level, all these connections are great…we can encourage many more people than we were able to in the past. However, on another level, perhaps these virtual connections cause us to miss a deeper connection that only takes place in person. It’s interesting that even John wrestled with technology. He was using pen and ink to connect with people, but he admitted he would rather come to them and talk face to face. He indicated their mutual joy would only be complete with a face to face meeting. Perhaps he knew that technology is limited in its ability to allow us to truly connect with others. On the gospel level, consider Jesus and the Holy Spirit. When Jesus left us, he could have left us with a Spiritual Skype connection where we could video chat Him whenever we needed. Instead, He left us the Holy Spirit, an in-person member of the Godhead.
This post is not meant to trivialize virtual connections with people. These are important, and I hope you are utilizing your phone and social media contacts to build relationships, encourage others, share you faith, etc. We have incredibly opportunities to do this. However, my goal in writing this post is to encourage you to deepen and build your in-person relationships. There seems to be something uniquely spiritual about meeting face to face. Yes, we live incredibly busy lives. Yes, many of our friends live nowhere near us. However, Jesus came in the flesh to save us, so perhaps we should look for opportunities to be in the flesh with others.