Confession: I’ve grown weary of small talk among us believers. The obligation to keep a superficial conversation going, an unsaid expectation to keep things light . . . . Lately, the very thought exhausts me. Please don’t misunderstand—I’m not anti-small talk; it truly helps to know about someone’s career or where they’re from. But at a Sunday School class/church retreat/Christian softball game/youth bonfire filled with believers meeting for one reason—to gather with likeminded Christians—shouldn’t those initial niceties eventually lead to something else? To Someone else? I mean, are we ever going to stand around those dozens of doughnuts/bunkbeds/dugouts/s’mores and talk one-on-one about Jesus?
Awhile back, a guest Bible teacher visited our class at church. I’d never met him. After ten minutes of us chatting about hometowns and Florida weather, something came over me; I suddenly craved more than surface chat. So to the surprise of my husband and maybe even myself, I blurted out, “How did you come to know Jesus?” And just like that, something inside me came home. I’m telling you, those next few minutes did more to lift my spirits than a thousand little conversations from years prior: his childhood with alcoholic parents, the local church who literally and spiritually rescued him, a lifelong walk with his best friend Jesus even through grief. . . .THIS fed my starving soul! THIS was hearty fellowship! THIS was why we had gathered! (Right?)
In that moment, I realized where I’d gone wrong. There’d be no more chatting about everything but the Topic of topics, the LORD of all topics. Thankfully and joyfully, Jesus has since breathed new life into my faith-based relationships. He has sweetly but clearly shown me that if we are growing in Christ; if we are seeking His presence in the day-to-day; if we are transparent about ourselves and understanding of others, then the gathering of authentic saints will be undeniably marked by the outpouring of transformative Jesus. I’m talking real, meaty, energizing fellowship. The kind that buoys, not burdens. The only kind that matters.
“What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us.” ~1 John 1:3
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