I wonder what priority you would place on your relationships. Now you may be thinking, “It depends on which relationship.” But I am asking you generally speaking if your relationships with others, from your family to someone you meet on the street, are a priority in your life. Jesus reminds us that relationships should come only second to our relationship with Him.
I am excited about our new fall series, “Endangered Relationships.” I have desired to do a series on our relationships with others for some time. I have been burdened by the high level of “brokenness” of relationships of those I minister to. It seems like every family I know has some relationship that is “broken” or not what it should be. These relationships range from your relationship with your spouse, to your children, to your parents and extended family, to your coworker and even to some neighbors. We live in a world of broken relationships. The amazing truth is that followers of Jesus are called, to the best of their abilities, to work on rescuing these broken relationships. We will be looking specifically at what God’s Word has to teach us about rescuing these broken relationships in our lives over the next 6 weeks. I will share more with you each week. Today, however, I want to speak to the need for you to make your relationships a priority.
There are many Biblical passages that speak to the importance of our relationship with the people in our lives. We could look at the all the “One Anothers” passages in the Bible. We could look at the admonition to make things right with others before we come to worship God. We could look at the end of Romans 12 that speaks about how to treat those which would be our “enemies.” The passage that the Lord laid on my heart is found in Matthew 9:37-39. Now many will recognize this passage as Jesus’ response to the challenge to identify the most important commandment in the Old Testament Law. It seems the expert in the Mosaic Law was testing Jesus to see if His beliefs were correct. Jesus correctly identifies the number one priority as “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” (Matthew 22:37–38) But it is what he said next that we often gloss over, “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) What stood out to me in Jesus’ response is the priority of our relationships with others is only second to our relationship with the Lord!
I wonder, do you give your relationships that kind of emphasis? Let me be more specific, “Do you give those relationships that are not going well that kind of priority?” I interpret the phase “And the second is like it,” to speak of being intentional. Just as the first calls for us to put our heart, soul and mind into it, so does the second. Jesus makes it clear that He desires them to put as much effort into “rescuing” their broken relationships as they do in their relationship with Him. Will you make that an emphasis in your life this week? You might be surprised what the Lord does when you obey Him.
-Pastor Joe Parkinson