Connections of all types important

Joni Manson - Contributing columnist

I grew up in Chillicothe. I got my first job at a local department store, in part, because my dad knew the store manager.

I’m sure I had, as a recent high school graduate, a few of the skills required, but Dad’s connection was a great influence!

I got my second job at a newly opened sporting goods store, in part, because my dad knew the store owner. Being a sports buff all my life and a sports card collector, I had knowledge about the teams represented on the merchandise and about the cards we dealt with. Having some retail experience under my belt also helped.

But Dad’s connection was still a great influence!

I got my third job at a newly opening Christian Bookstore, in part, because my dad knew the store owner. Having been a Christian for a couple years, an avid reader and lover of books, and having even more retail experience, I was qualified for the job. But Dad’s connection was still a great influence!

One day a lady from a nearby church came into the Christian Bookstore. She said her church was looking for a Christian Education Director. In addition to working at the bookstore, I was also attending Circleville Bible College and pursuing a degree in Christian Education.

When the lady told me about this job/ministry opportunity at her church, I was intrigued. And I applied.

Then I realized that my dad didn’t know anyone at that church! How in the world would I get that job?

After turning in a resume and interviewing for the position, it turns out the church believed I was qualified and the right person for the job! I was hired and worked there for a couple years before I headed to seminary in Kentucky.

In my opinion, it was a perfect fit. Small-town girl serving Christ in a nearby village. And Dad had nothing to do with it.

Oh, wait. Let me correct myself. My earthly father’s connections did nothing to influence whether or not I got the job at the church. However, my Heavenly Father’s connection and influence were all over this opportunity!

And as I look back, I believe it was His hand at work in all my other jobs as well. Sure, Dad knew a lot of people, but God worked through my dad and those people to bring blessing to my life.

And what’s even more important than that is this: While our connections in life and with others can oftentimes serve us well, it’s our connection to God that is the main thing.

I recently updated my cell phone. During the transition I was “offline” for several hours. No text messages. No cell phone calls. I felt very disconnected. Even though nothing major was happening, even though I had no important news to share with anyone, it felt weird not to be able to communicate as I usually would.

And I got to thinking: Are we that uncomfortable when we’re not as connected to God as we should be? Does it bother us – even if we have no major news to share with Him – when we’re not as close to Him as He wants us to be?

The Bible tells us to love others as we love ourselves. Rightly so, we often apply that to our relationships with other human beings. I think it would be a wonderful idea to apply that exhortation to God as well. What if we loved Him as we love ourselves? In practical terms, what if we desired to be as connected to Him as we are to our cell phones and other devices?

Connections matter! Sometimes job opportunities rely on them.

But our connection with God is the most important factor in life!

Joni Manson is Pastor of Sabina United Methodist Church.

Joni Manson

Contributing columnist