Near and Deep

“In our tech-dominated world we have extended our reach but diminished our depth.” [Dr. William Brown]

I don’t know about you but those words resonate deeply in my work-weary soul.  The very things that were supposed to make life simpler have, in fact, made it more complicated and full to overflowing. And, as a result, we have many ‘friends’ and few FRIENDS.  We know facts about people, even our family members, but don’t know their deep thoughts, fears, concerns or even their joys. And it’s not just individuals who are suffering from this technological malady. The church,  the body of Christ, is guilty of having extended its reach to the various ends of the world while the depth of relationships among the brothers and sisters is superficial.

We sing the lyrics of the Fannie Crosby’s famous hymn, Draw Me Nearer, with gusto: Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord to the cross where thou hast died. Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord, to thy precious bleeding side. There is great benefit to being drawn closer to the Lord. But that alone is not enough. Near is good but it’s not enough. We need deeper!  Think about it this way. We can set seeds on top of the soil – that’s as close as they can get – but there’s little protection on top of the soil. In order for the seed to do what it needs to do (die so it can sprout, grow roots and bear fruit) it must go deeper into the soil. You can argue that there are seeds which sprout laying on top of soil and you’d be correct – at least about those that aren’t blown away or eaten by birds. But the seeds that grow close to the surface rarely have roots deep enough to sustain them through the sun, rain, wind or predators.

We are like those seeds. In order for us to die daily, grow strong roots and bear fruit, we must go deeper in the things of the Lord. Near is good but not good enough. Life throws some hard stuff our way and in order to flourish, we need depth! God wants us to have healthy relationships, with God and with those in our lives. Healthy relationships are deep, they take time and are, first and foremost, connected to the quality of our relationship with God. It’s okay to have 1500 ‘friends’ on Facebook but don’t be naive enough to think those are real relationships. Technology is an awesome tool for reaching people but it will never substitute for the kind of relationship that only comes from being near and deep.

I don’t want to live a shallow life characterized by surface relationships. So, I’m singing, Lord draw me nearer and take me deeper! And, I’m stepping away from the computer a bit more often so I can have the necessary white space in my life to go deeper with the people I love and those I want to reach with the Gospel of Christ.

How about you?

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