It can feel like nobody loses touch any more – old friends live on in your Facebook or your address book, without real conversation or connection. What if we moved differently in this world? What if we took the time to get in touch with long-lost friends or family and make them feel loved, or re-forge a real connection that’s been lost?
Green: Scan through your inbox – the phone inbox and the (dreaded) email inbox. Who haven’t you replied to?
Amber: Got a friend you can feel yourself losing touch with? If it’s a friendship you’d rather keep – have the awkward chat, and schedule a get-together.
Red: Draw up a list of contacts who might appreciate an out-of-the-blue catch up. Text or call one a day this week.
“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24 NIV)
I had been writing the ‘Thought for the Week’ for the local newspaper for some time and wondered if anyone noticed it nestled between pages of advertisements and birth announcements. One Sunday, as I rushed around church, trying to locate my son’s missing shoe before worship started, a friend commented that an old man from the church opposite had popped in to let me know how much my recent ‘Thought for the Week’ had blessed him. He disappeared before I could meet him, but I will never forget his unexpectedly generous encouragement – that he had taken time out of his day to give, to a complete stranger.
Proverbs 12:25 (TLB) says ‘a word of encouragement does wonders’, and I certainly noticed, that day, the spirit-lifting effect of his heartfelt words. The New Testament uses the Greek word for ‘encourage’ (parakaleo) 109 times in total – surely enough to convince us of how vital it is for us to encourage and be encouraged. Hebrews 3:13 reminds us to ‘encourage one another daily’.
But what if we took this even further than our immediate reach, past the friends and family we ‘do life’ with, to long-lost friends – people who influenced our lives, but with whom we now have only distant contact? I can list several: my first deputy head, who pushed me to believe in myself; my landlady in my teacher-training year, who gave me courage to face Year 10 for the first time; a youth camp leader, who made me feel like I belonged. Imagine the effect on them if I contacted them, telling them of an impact they had on me, which they’ve probably never imagined.
‘Gracious words,’ says today’s proverb, ‘are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones’ (Prov 16:24). Make it your aim to serve some up today.