Relationships - Coin of the Realm
Real relationships are the Coin of the realm in God’s Kingdom, both in the present and in Heaven.
Understanding this concept is essential to fully grasping and living out what Jesus meant when he said to give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.
You say you don't have enough money.
I get it.
But what can you do so that you live richly and have no needs?
The answers lies in this verse which describes the early Church:
They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. ( Act 2:45)
Within this community, the relationships based on a bond in Christ were so real and loving that no one really went without a need being met.
So if you want to be someone who breaks out of a scarcity cycle, build real relationships.
It's far easier to do that than to acquire material goods, anyway. If you have ever thought, "I need to make more money" or "I need a better car," it's hard to actually materialize, right?
But taking the time to reach out and build relationships is far more within our control than to focus on growing material wealth.
Think about that in light of the following verse:
““Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19 NLT
What is the treasure that you can store up in heaven?
I believe the treasure is the people whom you help shepherd into the kingdom through your sharing of the word and the building up of he body.
It doesn't cost money to build relationships.
And here's the thing: if you do this well, concerns about money and jobs decrease.
Another way of looking at it: someone who is out of work or in need for a long time probably hadn't invested in relationships.
Often by not investing in relationships, we do not have great job opportunities. We do not have great entrepreneurial prospects. We don't have people who can lend a hand, pray in difficult times, help us when we are sick.
I have experienced this truth. Relationships I may have built over years are the ones that come through for opportunities and in hard times.
It is during periods when the relationship bank is empty that life has been hard.
People think that, when they don't have a job or not enough money, that they have a money problem.
It's not a money problem. For every follower of Christ who walks and obeys in faith, God takes care ofoir needs day by day when we are obedient.
The problem is not a money problem.
A life of lack or scarcity stems from a relationship problem.
Here's the litmus test I want everyone to consider: list out your needs.
Do you have a community of people who could meet thise need as describedin Acts?
- Whom could you call?
- Whom have you helped before now?
- Whom have you reached out to before now to see how they are doing!
If you are low on funds, worried about money, I do hear you.
I have been there. I have worries, too.
But do you know what I worry about more and feel I need to do better at?
Building up the relationship well.
This blog and email devotionals is one way to begin to build up relationships by simply helping people in two areas through my gifting: enabling spiritual gifts to live out God's purpose; and helping people through getting unstuck in life through God's breakthrough.
Open your eyes to God's kingdom and look at the potential riches you have in building relationships.
Who are five people you can reach out to to see how are they doing?
Do you remember the last thing they shared with you? Can you ask them about their family?
Did someone change jobs? Can you send them an email?
How can you stay relevant and just ask people, both long time friends and brand new acquaintances, how are they doing?
Do not ask for anything.
Don't be the guy who only asks when they need something. Build relationships constantly even if they aren't responsive.
Right now, take out a sheet of paper and write down about five people you would like to connect with.
I used to write it out my list every three months, but I now realize had I need to really make it a part of my weekly review. Spend quiet time and pray for God to place people in your heart and convict yourself of selfishness.
Will these people always remember your giving and caring and help you in return?
No! Plan for this let down ahead of time.
There are countless people I know who forget about what we have done for them. But there are always the few who remember the good deed.
It is far better to assume they will fail you. Sadly, this will be true, even among Christians. But keep drawing from God’s well to prevent resentment and build those relationships.
Look everywhere and let the Holy Spirit carry you. If you aren't consciously seeking, you won't see opportunities. The Holy Spirit nudges you when you set your eyes upon a situation.
For example, when I took my daughter swimming, another dad with his two daughters was there and very nice to my own daughters.
I said I would like to keep in touch. He offered to meet for pizza. I offered to pay for us. It was just pizza, right? Note: pizza is expensive! $60 for all of us!
I now know that just because it is hot bread it I still expensive.
Anyway, I stay in touch with hope our families become friends and that I get an opportunity to share so that he may learn about the Lord.
But will anything come of it?
Who knows. But it is far better than not knowing someone.
Because of technology, it is easier now to be connected and always be building. We just need to remember that ultimately relationships happen in real life.
As you build relationships with followers, be open but also discerning to their teaching and whom they are following. Often times, Christians are led and misled by human teachers and can inadvertently stray from the word.
For example, some leaders have missed the boat that the Gospel is about sacrificial living for other parts of the body. There is a dangerous thread (which I will write more about) that has turned Christian life into a focus on self-soothing of the private pain through deep introspection couched under the term of “God”.
However, that approach only appears to heal pain, and Scripture warns of this type of teaching:
“They have treated my people’s brokenness superficially, claiming, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace.”
Jeremiah 6:14 CSB
“‘ “Because they lead my people astray, saying, ‘Peace’, when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash,”
Ezek. 13:10 NIVUK
It is when we draw from the well of our forgiven sin, see the grace with which we have received, and fully receive the covenant of eternal life that the investment in others becomes possible.
So do a quick check by reading Acts.
Do you honestly believe people in your life will help you with every need? Or will they say one thing when you share a need, but in reality do nothing?
But before you can assess this, you have to take the log out of your eye first.
Have you given? Doesn't have to be money.
It can be time. It can be old clothes. It can be a sofa. It can be a meal. It can be advice or introductions.
Scripture says every need was met.
In the end, God promises to meet our needs. For most of us, money is the way to meet those needs. But in God's economy, it is relationships that meet every need.
Have you planted relationships that will bear fruit?
Or is your field barren?
Tell me in the community, our gathering of people who seek to think, feel and act differently from the world through the power of the Gospel.
- If you feel you don't have the opportunity or income to address your needs, do you have a money problem or a relationship problem?
- How barren or fruitful is your field when it comes to relationships?
- What can you do to address this area for growth and maturity?