A few years ago, my wife and I were having a discussion about our relationships with friends. She was upset, and explaining how she wished that she had some strong friendships in her life. She wanted friends who were genuine followers of Jesus Christ that she could just do life with on a regular basis. The type of friends that would laugh with us, cry with us, pray with us, and help transform us more into the image of Christ. It seemed like a genuine, God ordained request. I recommended that we pray about it, and trust that God would bring more of those people into our life.
A few years later, God has answered that prayer far beyond anything I could have imagined. It has become really apparent to me over the past couple of months. God recently placed it our hearts to adopt a child from the foster care system. In order to adopt, we have to attend evening classes once a week for 10 weeks. Each class is 3 hours long.
Because we have a 11 month old daughter, we have to find babysitters for 10 weeks in a row. We decided to reach out to a bunch of our friends and ask them to take weeks for babysitting, so that we could go to class. We are 8 weeks in now, and there has not been one week where we did not have someone to watch out daughter. In fact, everyone has been excited to pitch in and help. That is a lot of different individuals that we trust enough to let them watch our precious baby girl.
I am not saying all of this to gloat about having so many friends. It has really all been God’s doing as an answer to prayer. However, my real purpose for bringing this up is to just draw attention to the power of relationships in the body of Christ. It is something that I think I had been taking for granted, or just brushing off as not as powerful as some other elements in the Kingdom of God. But the following scripture really puts things into perspective:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35 NIV)
The Kingdom of God is here and now, and it is amazing! The Lord touches people in all sorts of ways. He delivers them from addictions, from emotional and spiritual bondage, and from physical infirmities. All of these things testify of God’s goodness and draw people to repentance and relationship with Him. These are amazing components of the Kingdom that we should seek after! However, I think we sometimes forget that the relationships we have with one another can be just as powerful. They can be so powerful that people on the outside of eternity can look in and say, “I don’t really understand much about this Jesus they talk about, but their relationships are incredible. I have never known relationships like that, and I want that in my life.”
In Acts 2, verses 44-47, we can read about how powerful relationship was in the early church:
Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
The relationships in the Church are so powerful that the Church has favor with all the people, and the Lord uses that to add daily to those being saved.
Do you believe that relationships matter? Do you believe that your relationships carry the weight of eternity?
Not just for the people engaged in those relationships, but also for the people on the outside watching? Whatever your relationship situation is now, it doesn’t matter. It can change today. We can all offer up a genuine prayer just like my wife and I did a few years back. Will you join me today in a heart felt plea to the Lord. Ask Him to fill our lives with meaningful, eternal relationships that ripple into eternity.