Have you ever met someone and felt an almost immediate connection with them? It could have been their engaging smile, their quick wit or their magnetic personality. But sometimes that connection happens when you discover that you have something important in common – maybe you both come from the same part of the country; attended the same college; were members of the same profession; knew some of the same people; had vacationed at the same places; or shared common interests.

Whatever the connection, it has the effect of turning this “stranger” into an instant friend. No longer a stranger. Your lives may be different in many ways, but whatever you have in common, it bridges those differences, allowing you to easily relate to each other on that basis alone.

This happened to me several times t. I’ve met people who share my passion for the Ohio State Buckeyes; people who also grew up in my home country; fellow photographers; even those who like the same restaurants. But that instant connection most often happened when I discovered that he or she is a brother or sister in Jesus Christ.

I experienced this just two weeks ago when I was invited to a meeting where I met a Christian business leader from Taiwan. I knew nothing about “Ben” before we met, but as we talked together it was a source of joy to discover that we shared a common devotion to the Lord.

This instant bond of faith became more evident when traveling to other parts of the world, discovering that someone in Hungary, Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Venezuela, the Netherlands, El Salvador or Mexico worship and serve the same God as me, even if they do it in a different language and worship in a different style, according to their culture.

We see a wonderful example of this in the apostle Paul’s letter to the disciples of Christ in ancient Rome. He had never been there but knew the bond of faith they had in common. In his introduction, Paul writes these words of encouragement:

“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, for your faith is being reported throughout the world. God, whom I serve with all my heart…is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last, by the will of God, the way will be open for me to come to you” (Romans 1:8-10)

Obviously, even if they hadn’t met in person – I bet Paul would have loved to have access to something like Skype or Zoom – their spiritual kinship was unmistakable. And he realized that it would be even stronger when they could interact face to face. As he says, “I desire to see you to give you a spiritual gift to make you strong – that you and I can be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith” (Romans 1:11-12).

Later in this epistle, Paul explains more precisely his intentions to finally go to Rome. He said excitedly, “I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of Christ’s blessing” (Romans 15:29).

I think I understand what he meant by “the blessing of Christ”, at least in part. Whenever I was able to spend time with other believers, I not only was able to share some of what God taught me, but also learned from them and I gained a fuller appreciation of how God works in geographies and cultures different from my own. My sense of his majesty and power has greatly expanded.

When Jesus ordered his disciples to “Go into all the world and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19), I believe it was not just to evangelize people and help them come to saving faith. It was also to help those who received the Lord’s saving grace to grow and to “be mutually encouraged by the faith of another,” as Paul said.

We are not called to live for God in isolation; He wants us to engage in ministry together in whatever way He sees fit. Because after all, “We are God’s fellow workers; you are the field of God, the edifice of God” (1 Corinthians 3:9). What greater, deeper connection could we have than this?

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Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has authored, co-authored and edited over 15 books. These include the recently released Marketplace Ambassadors; “Business at its Best: Timeless Proverbial Wisdom for Today’s Workplace”; “Tufting Legacies”, “The Heart of Mentoring” and “Pursuing Life with a Shepherd’s Heart”. A weekly business meditation he edits, “Monday Manna”, is translated into more than 20 languages ​​and emailed worldwide by CBMC International. His blog address is www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com. His email address is [email protected]

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