There’s a song generally sung at black churches that has the lyrics:
“Reach out and touch/somebody’s hand/ make this world a better place/ if you can”.
I don’t know the origins of the song or if it even started off as gospel song. But it’s a simple message resonates with me today. As I look at Facebook, my text message inbox, and all my social media and I see all the wonderful things people are saying about me, I’m very touched. But it’s not just the content of the messages that makes me feel this way. It’s the action itself. The action of people taking the time out of their day to send me a message of love. In a world where we can “like”, “favorite” (which is now tragically known as a “like” as well, smh), or double tap our approval to somebody, have we lost the desire to actually reach out? Have we traded the ability to actually engage in people’s lives in a meaningful way for the convenience to push a button and keep it moving?
The song offers a simple solution to help in making the world a better place. It calls us to reach out and touch. That requires one thing: being intentional. To be intentional is to be purposeful and deliberate. Purpose nor deliberation can be lazy to truly be the essence of those words. We have the perfect example of how to be purposeful and deliberate by looking at God through sending Jesus to us. God says He is loving, compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (Exodus 34:6) . And He shows that by intentionally sending Jesus (John 3:16) to die for us and deliberately allowing Him to suffer for our sake for the purpose of reconciling all those who would believe back to him (Romans 5:10-11). God’s desire since Adam and Eve’s betrayal that led to the generational guilt of sin was to bring about a Savior to save His creation from themselves and from a life apart from Him.
We often make statements like “Love is an action” or “Love is a choice”. Well God was the first to show that. So when we as believers are choosing to be intentional in building our relationship with God, with our family and friends, with our spouses and kids, we are emulating the intentionality of God. You may be thinking “Isn’t hitting the ‘like’ button an action?”. It is, in the very basic sense of the word action. But actions are not just measured by their actuation of result, but also by the magnitude of their result. This is not a call to do away with basic social media culture and etiquette (although some of y’all could stand to learn some manners). But instead, this is just a call to check your heart and see when is the last time you have been intentional about engaging with your loved ones and friends? When is the last time you’ve chosen to write on someone’s wall a few words of encouragement or inspiration? That may not be your “thing” and you may not honestly know how to do that. I think the goal is pursuit not perfection. We are flawed human beings. We won’t be perfect, or even good, at the things we try. But we can try. We have all been in some way touched by the intentionality of someone. This is about asking ourselves, when is the last time we’ve done the same thing?
So thank you to all those who wished me a happy birthday. Regardless of the length of the comment, your intentionality to wish me a great day does not go unnoticed. Thank you. And I challenge you to find more ways of being intentional with people you love. All its takes is reaching to touch to someone to possibly make their world a better place (cheesy ending, but it’s my birthday so go with it)