(This article was written before the lockdown in March 2020, which adds even more weight to the topic at hand)
by Mika Kaltoft
I love Mondays.
I know. You’ve got to let such dramatic statements sit for a while before moving on. But let me tell you why I love Mondays.
I love Mondays because it’s my day off. I love being off work. Not because I don’t like my job. Not at all. But Mondays allow me to enjoy an entire day with my lovely wife and amazing children. We love exploring California, hiking mountains, surfing the beach and enriching our tastebuds.
A Completely Normal Monday
Last Monday was no different. This time the destination was a playground on the beach in Ventura (our kids loooove it). And the Camarillo outlet mall, where we had to do some shopping.
We had a blast! After having enjoyed the day with my family, we were ready to head back home. After a long day, I was tired, so I decided to swing by Starbucks and grab a coffee.
Fabi and the kids waited in the van as I jumped out and walked to the Starbucks cafe. As I entered the door, a sweet smell of coffee met me and the greeting of happy employees. There was no line. So I went straight up to the cashier, where a smiling barista greeted me.
She asked me, “What would you like to order?”
I said, “A large Vanilla Latte, please.”
She answered, “Sure. What’s your name.”
“Mika. M I K A” (Yes, it’s necessary to spell otherwise it usually ends up being “Meaken.” Why? I have no idea).
Then something strange happened. Something unusual. The lady opened her mouth. And she SPOKE.
She asked me, “Did you just got off work?”
You got to understand that I somehow have gotten the name Mr. Outreach. In other words, I’m known to be this bold guy (Yes! I am losing my hair) who are always ready to talk with anyone, anywhere. So this conversation should have been a breeze (if the reputation is true). And the question should have been a touchdown. But that’s not what happened. Not at all.
I looked at the lady. Bewildered. Not knowing what to reply. Then I said in a non-energetic monotone, “Umm. No. We just went to the mall to buy some stuff.”
She replied, “Oh, cool. Any good deals? (Again the lady tried to keep the conversation going).”
I answered, “Yes. Many good deals.”
End of conversation.
I grabbed my coffee and headed back to our van. As I turned on the engine and began driving home, I looked out the window (Tip: a good thing to do when you are driving) and thought to myself, “What just happened? How come I was speechless, not knowing how to answer? Why did I freeze like that?”
I didn’t have an immediate answer. But I kept thinking about the conversation because it was so odd to me.
Then two days later, it hit me.
People Don’t Talk Together Nowadays
I usually engage others in conversation, asking how they are doing. But here, at this random Starbucks, this lady asked ME a question. It took me by surprise. Why? Because strangers usually don’t ask me about my day. About my whereabouts? About me? In fact, people usually don’t ask me anything. They are usually busy on their phone or seem to be very busy exercising their hyper-individualistic, self-centered lifestyle.
To you, this might be completely normal. It’s very common for many not to engage others in conversations nowadays. But that’s the problem. I received an email a couple of days ago with an interesting fact. The guy who sent the email quoted a recent study that says that, “An incredible 81% of people (age 22 to 37) say that phone calls make them feel anxious. Many people today even fear ringing a doorbell (or answering the door) because they know it will lead to a face-to-face discussion.” That’s just straight-up crazy. Yet that’s the world we live in today.
On top of that, the news today reported that Amazon has recently launched a store without cashiers altogether. No people. No conversations. No, “Hi. How are you doing?” Just, “Biiiiip… (Next item) Biiiiip… (Next item) Biiiiip… (Next item)…”
Watch Out: An Undetected Intruder Harming The Church
It’s a well-known fact that we are quickly and steadily losing personal contact and communication in our world today. Sadly, I see this happening in the church as well. People seem so busy with their lives that there often isn’t time for a genuine, “How are you (really) doing?” question or sincere desire to be involved in each others lives. People have enough in themselves and their families to the extent that we have lost biblical “Koinonia” fellowship of sharing life.
As a church, we often warn against false teachers and protect our flock against wolves. That’s good, and let’s never change that (Acts 20:28), but could it be that our culture of hyper-independent individualism is an undetected intruder who has slipped through the church’s door and is slowly harming the body of Christ more than we realize?
I’m no prophet. But our culture is hyper-individualistic, and if we don’t watch out, I believe it will continue to spread like a deadly disease and affect the body of Christ’s spiritual health, effectiveness, growth and love for one another.
In Romans 12:2, the Apostle Paul warns us not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewal of our minds so that we may discern what the will of God is, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
If that’s true, which it is, it means we should consider how to live in a relationship with each other that reflects God’s good, acceptable and perfect will. Not in a way that reflects our culture. It means we should examine whether we live in Christian love toward one another or find ourselves as culture-shaped, self-centered, robots who forget and neglect others.
Brothers and sisters, we should live as children of God and pursue biblical fellowship with each other. We should desire to live out the New Testament’s “One Another” commandments in love and care for one another (1 John 3:16).
So here is my challenge: Let’s do our best to study the New Testament to learn what it teaches about Christian living so that we may rediscover The Lost Treasure of Christian Fellowship.
There is truly nothing like it!
A Challenge For You
There is no better way to connect with your church family than by showing hospitality (1 Peter 4:9).
So here’s my challenge to you:
- Invite a couple, a single person, or a family that you don’t know well from your church family over for dinner next week.
- If they can’t get together next week, try the following week.
- Keep looking for a date until it is on your calendar. If it isn’t on your calendar, it’s most likely not going to happen.
Make sure it doesn’t end up being a one-time event but the beginning of, hopefully, a life-long relationship.