Have you ever felt as though things were just a bit hectic, a little off in your life? I mean everything seems to be great, but when you look a little deeper, just below the surface, you find things are out of sorts, off-kilter. Perhaps on the job in your relationship with your boss, your co-workers, or maybe it is at home with friends, family, a spouse or significant other. Perhaps you are not feeling as connected as you could be, you are from all aspects connected however you are not engaged. Now, I do not mean it in the way of not ever seeing or spending time together, you are connected, yet you not engaged. We want to feel deeply connected to other people, fully understood and appreciated by them, and secure in those relationships. Often when we converse with people, we are not entirely listening; we are formulating our response in our heads and waiting for our turn to talk. We are not only doing the other person a disservice when we do this; we are also shortchanging ourselves. Think about the last time you opened up to someone. It likely required you to feel a level of comfort and trust, even if you did not yet know that person very well. The act of opening up is itself an offering wanting to be completely connected. It is an invitation to let someone in, to become fully engaged, to be “ALL IN.”
We all believe we are connected, and engaged in some capacity, be it with ourselves, with others, or with our smartphones. People assume that just because they friend you, are following you; they are engaged with you, what you are all about, and what you would like them to do (for you) and that is a misnomer. If you take a look in places like your Twitter feed, or your news feed on Facebook, it becomes abundantly clear that many people feel that they have a right to promote, and publish in your feed just because they are “connected” to you. We are always connected, but we are seldom truly consciously engaged. We can have a million and one acquaintances online, but if none of our connections feel intimate and meaningful, we will ultimately feel unaccompanied, disconnected, not engaged. If someone is following you, does that mean that they are involved in whom you are and what you are about? One of the first steps to feeling engaged is creating close relationships, and that starts with meaningful, honest, and inviting conversations. These do not necessarily need to be deep in nature. They just need, to be frank, authentic, and reciprocal.
Being connected but not engaged is not some new concept to any of us it even happened with Jesus. In the 6th Chapter of John we find there is a stark contrast between the multitude that followed Jesus and the twelve disciples. The multitudes were drawn in by the works of Jesus; they were connected and only followed Him for what they could receive from Him. He could heal them and fill their stomachs. However, when Jesus said, My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed, Whoso eats My flesh and drinks My blood hath eternal life, the multitude turned and walked away. That was too much because they were not engaged. They were never “All In.” They were not entirely dedicated to walking with Jesus. The disciples, on the other hand, had heard a living Word. It was not just commandments and doctrines; it was the Spirit of the Word that quickened their hearts. They heard the Spirit of God speaking in the words of Jesus, and they responded to that Word. They left all to walk with Him.
After the multitude had walked away, Jesus turned to His disciples and asked, “Will you also go away?” Simon Peter answered, and said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? We know that You have the words of eternal life.” They probably did not understand what Jesus had said any more than the multitude, but they did know one thing: He spoke a Word to their hearts, and that Word did something to them. They were quickened by it. Even without understanding what Jesus was saying and doing, they knew that He was speaking words of life. They were walking on with Him into the unknown. They did not know what was ahead for them. They only knew one thing: this man Jesus was the Christ; He was the Son of the living God, and they were “ALL IN”, committed, totally engaged to follow Him.
Who cares how many people you are connected to or that are linked to you, or how many shallow, superficial relationships you have or have had? The real measurement is how engaged are you in the content and context of one another. Sure, you can see this as another twist on the “quality vs. quantity” post, but it is not so elementary. What we are looking for is a new paradigm that focuses on an actual level of engagement.
We need that same revelation today as the disciples experienced. Because with commitment comes loyalty and action. We must do more than hear than to be around a person or a thing. We must eat, drink, live, and breathe, fully unequivocally engage with the words of eternal life. We must have the same dedication to walk with Him; we must be “ALL IN.”
When a waterfall flows into a body of water, it is not merely connected but fully engaged the waters can never be separated because there is no distinguishing mark or different attributes that would allow such a separation. The waterfall, when connected to the body is completely irreversible engaged, and is now “ALL IN.”
I do not fully comprehend what lies before me, but like the disciples, I am not turning back. I am fully engaged, I am not perfect, I have made mistakes along this journey and guaranteed to make more before it is over, but I am ALL IN, and there is nothing more important than that to living life now, and throughout eternity.