Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Value Of Relationships

When it comes down to the end of our life, it will not matter how successful we have been or how many assets we have accumulated. What will be important is that we have built meaningful relationships with people. In fact, a life is wasted if it has not had an impact on the lives of others.

Paul was ministered to by two special friends, Timothy and Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:19, 25). They were dear friends and willing to sacrifice and serve to meet Paul’s physical needs. Epaphroditus became ill and almost died while he was ministering and serving Paul. Paul told the Philippian church to welcome him with joy and honor him for his work and ministry. He recognized that people were important especially as they partnered together with him in team ministry.

We need to recognize that there are only two things that last beyond this life, the Word of God and people. People will live forever and can make an impact in this life and for eternity. It is wise to build meaningful relationships with people so that you can influence them for the Kingdom. It is rewarding and gives meaning to our lives when we invest our time and effort in people.

Due to my illness, I have a new love for people and deep appreciation for relationships. This has been a difficult six months for me, as I have been isolated from people. I am so thankful for friends who have reached out to me during my illness. I look at people differently now and value them and the relationships that I have built over the years. I value what family and friends mean to me because life is short and relationships are eternal. It is tragic that in our society today, we tend to minimize relationships. We need people in our lives and need to make building friendships a real priority.

The Bible talks about the “community of believers” within the local church, where there should be deep, meaningful relationships. Our family relationships should be encouraging and edifying because they were designed by God to be a loving, intimate support for you in time of need. Sometimes, it takes a time of hardship to value and rebuild these important relationships. Why wait until it is almost too late?

Paul acknowledges the value of people by listing a number of names of men who had ministered to him and with him in the final chapter of his epistles. Paul states a principle in the relationship between joy and people: “So that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me“ (Phil. 1:26). People can bring us great joy as we minister to them and they help “bear our burdens” (Gal. 6:2). God uses others to help us grow in our spiritual lives and develop our character. People can give us affirmation and encourage us to value ourselves and to strive to be all that God wants us to be in this life. When we learn to serve others and live unselfish lives (Phil. 2:3-4), it gives us a sense of purpose. We receive joy when we are with people and enjoy genuine fellowship that enhances our walk with the Lord.

God uses our friendships to encourage us and to assist us in time of need and adversity. As we influence others, it brings us great joy because we know that we can impact people while we are on this earth. Our joyful spirit can create an environment for others to be more joyful. People matter to God and we need to love them enough to invest in their lives. As I think of people who have encouraged me in my life, it is people who have walked with authenticity in their spiritual life and demonstrated the “fruits of the spirit” in their life. I need to realize the impact that I can make upon others as I live faithfully and strive to build relationships.

Do you value people and purposefully and intentionally make relationships a high priority in your life?

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