Recently, I have been involved in an unusual number of conference calls. And I am getting involved in several other opportunities with clients that will require hours of phone calls and a huge number of email communications. In fact, last week, after some rather disappointing results after phone and email exchanges, I actually sat down face to face with a person to to negotiate a deal; and it worked out great. Several weeks ago, the same thing happened in a vendor negotiation for a client of mine, and I have really devoted quite a bit of thought to the people I get to meet face to face.
I do quite a bit of work with teams, particularly in the biotech industry, and I am always amazed; especially with the younger folks, who resort to email and text messaging, even when the person they are communicating with is in the next cubicle. They tend to not spend too much time face to face. But when one of my clients decides to hire a new person, I always fly to their location to conduct the final interviews, you guessed it, face to face. I just have a much better idea as to whether someone is going to work out when I have a chance to see their body language, the way they move and the way they they integrate speech with the other aspects of personal communications.
I was recently speaking with a representative from the phone company, and found out that the average 16 year old sends more than 2000 text messages a month. Phone minutes talked are declining, and personal conversations are becoming even more rare. Our younger people are less inclined to meet face to face.
I have even noticed the same thing about Facebook and some of the social media sites. Did you ever go on FB, or Linked In, to search somebody and find out what they looked like? Or how about your Facebook friends? Last Sunday, I received a notification that two of my FB friends are having birthdays this week. Karin is celebrating a birthday today. You may recall that it was her father Roger who died of cancer earlier this year. We have known Karin since she was a little girl and have watched her grow up, get married and have a family. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen her – face to face.
At the other end of the spectrum is Nicole, a faithful follower of this blog, and her birthday is on Thursday. I feel like I know her, but I have never met her. She sends wonderful comments and encouragements about the posts I write; and even though she is a dear friend of our daughter Jill, I feel like something is missing. I want to meet her – face to face.
Last Friday night, Janet and I went to the local high school football game. We sat with Kristin and her kids. Pretty soon, Jaime, and several other friends from Kristin’s early childhood joined us. Without exception, every one of them hugged us – even though we have not seen some of them in years. There was something special about being there – face to face.
And that brings us to the Scriptures. Moses was one of the few people who met God face to face. In fact, after the event, Moses actually glowed with the glory of the Lord. And as devoted as we may be to God, and Christ, we can only imagine what it would be like to meet them face to face. Do you ever think about what that will be like when it happens? Paul gives us a glimpse of his thoughts in 1 Cor. 13:12, the end of the famous love chapter of the Bible. Paul tells us, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” In other words, Paul believes that we can’t fully know Christ until we meet Him in person. Interesting choice of words, don’t you think? Because now, we only know a little about Him, but that will change in heaven.
And the apostle John, in his 2nd epistle, tells us in verse 12,”Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.” So John identifies complete joy with speaking face to face. That’s kind of how I feel when I get to meet people in person.
My encouragement tonight is to do everything you can to improve your relationships. While technology helps us to stay connected, there is no substitute for good, old fashioned discussion – face to face. My prayer is that when your earthly life is over, you will experience the joy that Paul and John talk about in their respective writings – when you finally meet the God of the universe in person. In the meantime, Happy Birthday, Karin, and Nicole. I wish I was celebrating with you – face to face…..