Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds.Proverbs 27:23
I recognize my four sons-in-law as one of my most valuable investments, after all, their wives represent my four “pearls of great price”. Consequently, after two sons-in-law married our two oldest within six months of each other, we began monthly “investor calls”. There was a season where Todd and Rebekah attended graduate school at the University at Cape Town in South Africa, while Tripp and Rachel were students at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. So, conveniently, noon on Saturdays became our best time to chat with the nine hour time difference. Todd, our Georgia Tech graduate, creatively crafted three questions for our discussion on the hour long call:
- What are you learning from the Lord?
- What are you learning from your family? (I was keenly interested in their wives’ well-being!)
- What is your biggest challenge at work or school so we can pray for you?
Fast forward many years later and all five of us live in Atlanta, so we can meet in person and take trips together. I am so proud of these guys for their intentionality in their relationship with God, family and their work. With a hint of being morbid, we are all seeking to invest in those who will attend our funerals. Our prayer is for those who know us the best to love us the most!
“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).
What is a robust relationship? It is healthy, strong, and dependable, and grows with time. Just like money experiences compounding interest over years, so do relationships that are given focused attention. Outside of our time with the Lord, investment in people is our greatest asset. Relationships mean something—when relationships mean something.
How do you view your most significant relationships? Your spouse? Your children? Your parents, grandparents and siblings? Do they feel honored or tolerated by your behavior? Are you proactive or reactive in how you reach out to them? It’s even more necessary to initiate relationally to those who are socially immature and who have never had good relational models to learn from. Those of us who know better are responsible to love on those who don’t know any better. Relationships require a leader who loves well.
“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).
Furthermore, it’s out of our relationship with the Lord that we have the spiritual stamina and emotional energy to engage others in a meaningful way. To give generously we have to regularly receive from the One with bountiful grace and infinite wisdom. Jesus Christ is our relational engineer who, like a gifted architect, is able to build a beautiful bond between those who love, respect and serve each other. God gives relational freedom.
“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me a heart of compassion for those I encounter in everyday life, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Application: How can I prepare my heart to love well in anticipation of the Easter season?