For those who are single (i.e. not married or even dating someone else), well-meaning friends and relatives may tell them to “get out there”. Their implication is that the single person needs to find someone else in order to be fulfilled (which isn’t true, as countless single followers of Jesus can vouch for). But, barring that invalid implication, the concept generally makes sense: without social contact, it is difficult to meet someone else. The same principle applies in sales and marketing. Without customers becoming aware of a product, they aren’t likely to buy it!
Take a look at this verse from the book of Matthew:
Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
Matthew 4:18 NASB
Note that Jesus did not find these disciples by staying at home by Himself. As a rabbi, I suppose that He could have just sat in a house (or the temple or a palace, reflecting His holiness and authority), and waited for potential followers to come to Him. Once Jesus became more popular, as His authority was verified through miracles and compelling teaching, this would become even easier, as literal crowds sought Him out.
Instead, though, Jesus was out in public. I imagine the seaside to be a relatively busy place, as fishermen and traders supplied food to dwellers in the regions adjacent to the coast. He was in an environment where He could listen to His Father (or His own wisdom), and take actions to glorify God. These two fisherman-turned-followers would prove to be an integral part of Jesus’ ministry, and Peter became a “rock” upon which the early church relied.
When Jesus called his followers to be overt in their good deeds, He wasn’t telling them to “do as I say, not as I do”. He had demonstrated what “getting out there” could look like.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16 NASB
In today’s world, being in the company of others so that we can draw their attention to God can take a lot of forms. In some regions, walking on the beach of a frozen lake may be pretty quiet, and not give us many chances to share with others. But, the mall is probably heated, as well as the coffee shop. Our “getting out there” might take various forms related to our job, school, extended family, or just where we shop or spend time in the company of others.
We can even show our good deeds (for God’s glory, not ours) in the virtual world. I’m not going to tell you that the Internet is inherently evil (since it transports both evil and good, much like the physical world); instead, I believe in a balanced approach: Sometimes, people need a kind comment posted in their virtual home page; other times they need a literal hug.
Regardless of the “how”, our call remains: to not keep our faith to ourselves. It’s great (and preferable) if you can spend lots of quiet time with God, talking with Him and learning more about Him. That’s only part of our calling, though. Once we are filled up with the knowledge of God, how can we keep it to ourselves? Since we are called to love our neighbors, how can we leave them without the knowledge of the joy of following Jesus?
So, whether you are single or in a relationship with another person, I pray that you will find fulfillment in following Jesus, and find a sense of belonging within a community of believers. But, independently of your social life, don’t be afraid to “get out there” to find people who need to become disciples of Jesus. The Holy Spirit probably won’t call you to strike up a conversation with everyone you see, but He may very well prompt you to speak a kind word to some of them, or perform a loving action for those who need to feel God’s kindness today.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation.