Just last night I was reading an article investigating what factors gave you the highest chance of living to 100 years old.Any guesses? Quit smoking or drinking? Eat organic food? Lots of exercise?Yes, these factors had some influence, but the top of the list was social interaction. Essentially, being included.Those who had regular visitors and interactions with other people, lived the longest. I’ll admit I want to get to 100, so I’m going to remember this hint!
God is an amazing creator. He realised very quickly that Adam was not suited to being alone and gave him Eve.We have been given marriage and the ability to create other humans.We have the ability to increase, interact and influence others in such positive ways that can literally affect if someone lives or dies. One thing God did not want for us is to be lonely.
There is a big difference between lonely and alone.You can be in the busiest school or at a party and feel incredibly lonely.You can be on your own and feel lonely. For me, this is usually a negative experience where I know I haven’t invested in time with friends or church family, and I’m feeling the effects of it. I would guess most of us hate this feeling, instinctively it isn’t what we want for ourselves. Being alone, however, is different. I really enjoy being alone. Life can be hectic and having space and calm to chill out is really healthy and God calls us to do so.
In Ruth 2, we see Ruth is lonely. She’s lost her husband and living with her in-laws, who have also lost their husbands so no bundle of joys here! She’s scraping together the last of the barley from the fields when a rich prince in (not so) shining armour notices her. Boaz includes Ruth. He looks after and provides for her, for he knows her heart is good and she has been devoted to her new family. He had a choice to ignore her, leave her to collect the scraps, but he reaches out and provides for Ruth.
Ruth recognises that Boaz is including her.We can learn from his example.Where can we include others more? Who is in our youth groups but doesn’t come to the ‘non-church’ pizza nights or cinema trips? Where are we not included? Can we get out of our comfort zone and find those friends who just accept me for me? God will guide you to these answers. It’s what he wants for you, you are #included.
Claire Bell
Diamonds Trustee & Volunteer