Proverbs 18:1 NKJV
“A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment.”
Working as a barista has taught me more about human psychology and sociology then higher education ever did. To know people you need to be around people.
The foolish isolate themselves. Some do it out of selfishness, others out of a desire to live holy, both end up ineffective at being fruitful for God. The more you separate yourself from society the less you will understand how to reach it.
I have been blessed to work at a local coffee shop for the past seven months, where I have been able to work with some of my passions in life; espresso drinks, people and Jesus.
Coffee culture is perfect for getting to know people, they come to drink coffee but they also come to talk. Coffee shops also have a nack for bringing in all sorts of people from every walk of life. There is the educated teacher, the homeless bum, the dropout, the hard working single mother, the struggling husband, the happy family, the studious student, the rich realtor, the classy businessman, etc, etc. The list goes on and on…
I have learned a lot about dealing with people, listening, and interjecting advise when appropriate. Interestingly enough I have also learned about how similar Catholics and Protestants are; due to working around and with some very devout Catholics. Sure there are differences, and they are noteable, but our similarities out number those differences ten to one. There is much more room in Christianity for unity then one would suppose by a shallow look into its different denominations.
So moral of the story for my readers? Don’t isolate yourself. I’m not saying you should compromise on the truth by any means, be a lover of the truth. But don’t forget to love people as well. I have a feeling that the most effective Gospel preached is the one that has a different character of love and peacefulness about it, refined in the fires of the world. You can’t be refined until you are tested. Temptation is good for us, it reminds us of our need for God constantly. Even failure in the face of temptation can win the Christian the victory of humility. Yes, its difficult to walk uprightly in this world, and we should still choose our friends wisely (which is the other side of the coin I would balance this with, see Proverbs 12:26), but isolation is not the way to do so.
May God give us the strength to walk uprightly in this world, choosing the hard way of constant human interaction rather than the easy road of isolation.
© 2012, Matt Camphuis all rights reserved.