This is Day One of a 40-day journey learning Jesus’ relational principles. I chose to bare my heart with you all concerning this topic of relationships. I am not the best at communicating with others on a regular basis. I will tell you that there are times when I will forget to call someone for weeks, and once I remember, I apologize hoping to never go that long again between calls. And then life happens and I do it again. That is not how I want to be, but for some reason, I have it in my head that to be a good friend, I need to call regularly. Whether that is true or not, I will find out over the next 40 days.
The first relationship principle of Jesus that Holladay states is: Place the Highest Value on Relationships. And the passage from the Bible to go with this principle is Mark 12:29-31, which says,
29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Notice the word love in these two commandments that Jesus sets forth before the people. That is a relational word. In order to love, there must be a relationship involved. We will explore this over the next week or two. And while I will not be sharing the words printed in the book (because that would be wrong), I have already shared a link to where you can get this book called, “The Relationship Principles of Jesus” by Tom Holladay, if you so choose to go through it for yourself.
So for this first day, our lesson is “Nothing is more important than relationships“. God created us to be in a relationship with Him and others. Of utmost importance is our relationship with God. Life is meaningless if we don’t have that fundamental purpose and objective at the core of our being. At the base of every action and decision and thought that we have, we should have our core values so ingrained in us that we subconsciously apply them to everything that we do. Jesus’ command to love God and love people (in essence) is at the foundation of life. Those seeking the purpose of life need only to look to Jesus’. He tells us plainly.
What we value most and therefore prioritize should be relationships according to Jesus. So Holladay’s “Point to Ponder” for today is to place the highest value on relationships. As we go throughout the day, think about the way you interact with others. Jesus experienced various degrees of relationship just as we do. He knows that relationships can include pain, work, and adjusting. It is easy to “reduce our lives to simple hobbies, tasks, and entertainment.” Just notice the associations and friendships that you have with the various people you communicate with today.
So the question for today is: “Have I asked Jesus if what I’m doing is what’s most important? And my answer is, “No, I haven’t, but I will now.” I have simply been following tasks for a while. And I think that is because I have been hurt. I am afraid of getting hurt again. So I find myself gravitating to crocheting or studying rather than engaging in meaningful conversations with others. I am more of an introvert, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t talk to people. It just means that I have to work at it a little more than those that are extroverts. My husband is more of an extrovert. He can talk to just about anyone in that genuine and meaningful way that relationships are built on, and it just comes naturally to him. Whereas, I am more apprehensive. I am shy, but it comes from a place of fear. Fear that I will get hurt, or fear that I will negatively affect someone.
As I go throughout the day, I am going to try to be more cognizant of my interactions with others, and I am going to keep going back to the passage in Mark 12 where Jesus quoted both Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18. These are not new and breaking news. These are God’s foundational principles from the beginning of the covenant. Jesus is bringing us back to the core of what it means to be a child of God.
Gotta go fill up my cup…..