Ebola scares me. So does anthrax, hand foot and mouth disease and any disease transmitted by touch.
Chikungunya? Dengue fever? Those I can fight. Our house has been battened down as if we were expecting a hurricane. Any and all mosquitoes that breach our defenses are exterminated with lethal force.
Did you ever think about how many diseases are passed on by touch? I have. Jamaica is a really tiny place (just think of an entire country that could comfortably sit in JFK airport - three times over) and you'd have a pretty of the country's size.
I come in contact with a number of persons on my way to work. The taxi driver. The passengers. Persons on the staff bus.
Then there are the things that I touch. Door handles. Money. Stationery. Food containers.
I think of the persons we buy food from: street vendors and restaurants. My imagination shrinks our already small island and connects the almost three million persons who live here.
We are literally one touch away from each other. For a time during the Ebola scare I was leery of every type of physical contact. I scrutinized every hug. Every kiss. Every handshake.
I thought about the amount of time I was touched or hugged or kissed at church. I could easily see the disease spread across Jamaica and every person contracting it and dying a horrible death.
My imagination scared me to my knees. I prayed to Jehovah for protection. I prayed for Him to keep the disease from our shores. I prayed for Him to contain the disease and stop the spread. I prayed for the recovery of those who had contracted it. I prayed for the families who had lost loved ones to that horrible disease.
I asked a lot of persons to add their prayers to mine. I am grateful that the God hears and answers prayers.
There are times when we are afraid to reach out to someone. We don't want to be emotionally vulnerable so we keep all our pain to ourselves.
Some of us have a "personal space" barrier blocking ourselves off from personal contact.
But here's the thing, shouldn’t we be more concerned about touching people? Not just in a physical way but on a more intimate, even spiritual, level. Shouldn't we be concerned that there are people dying from lack of emotional, physical and spiritual contact?
In John 13:34 we are told to love each other as Christ loved us. That means we should be friends to the unloved and outcasts of our society. We should cheer up the broken-hearted, visit the sick, care for the dying… All the things that Christ did.
Instead of thinking about ourselves, we should be trying to reach the persons we come in contact with each day.
God made us as social beings. We were made to connect to and minister to each other. Let's put away the self-imposed barriers and reach out to someone.
How many persons will you touch today?
Father, You created us to connect to each other even as we connect to You. I pray that we will focus on touching hearts and lives as we win souls for your kingdom. In Jesus' name. Amen.
How do you impact the lives of those around you? Are you leaving a positive or negative impact?