It’s been the watch word in my life these past several weeks – relationships. I love how my God drills something into my brain until I wake up and say, “Hello. Okay Lord I’m with you. I get it and thanks for your reminders.” The last weeks have been filled with conversations with friends; God’s voice to me in my morning devotions; sharing with the women’s ministry team; a passing visit with a businessman in Kearney – what was the common connecting factor? The word surfacing over and over was: Relationship!
These past days I have had the huge joy of sharing my home with my friend Judy Newhouse. She is currently on furlough from her mission field in Hong Kong. If any of you have talked with Judy, you know how often she emphasizes the phrase “It’s all about relationships.” Read her newsletter and you will find that her joy spills over in every sentence on how she describes working with the churches, schools, teachers, parents and yes especially the children. Her laughter and love is evident when she talks about sitting down, sharing stories, working on crafts, listening to the little ones, and participating in their worship and praise services. It’s all there and when asked, “How do you share Jesus?” Her response is simple and direct, “I love them. It’s all about building relationships.”
Ever heard the phrase, “People don’t care what you know unless they know you care”? Building relationships takes time and it’s a journey worth your investment. Give yourself. Give your best. It’s more than kindness or being nice. It is compassion, knowing God created this individual and loves them as He loves you. Is it easy? No. It takes work and many times it is a long journey, but God travels with you every step of the way. ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matt 25:40
Our societal focus is “ME” and “MY Time” and many of us guard that time carefully. “Bible study? I just don’t have the additional hour to commit. I meant to stop by and visit, but I ran out of time. I know I should, but my schedule is too full. I just don’t have the extra minutes to help – sorry. We’re dispensing precious seconds with an eyedropper, when hurting individuals need a bucket-load of encouragement. We just don’t want to stop and re-arrange our priorities. It is hard to give unless you realize that relationships are a two-way street. Friends/relationship is an indispensable part of a meaningful life. Sharing the burdens, joys, sorrows – this multiplies our blessings! In good times and bad we need friends who will pray for us, listen to us and lend a comforting hand. B LaAHye.
‘Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. For if one of them falls down his friend can lift him up.’ Ecc 4:9
There is nourishment from being encouraged and held up by others when we are weak – so give that back! Trust and be honest. Remember God is your constant companion in all of this. Relationships are not about perfect words. It is about presence, time, being real. It can be scary, but dare to love and be a real friend. The love you give and receive is a reality that will lead you closer and closer to God as well as the people God has given you to love.
Lord forgive us for missed opportunities because we just don’t stop and take time. Take our hand Lord as we step out of the boat and share. Doneta