SCRIPTURE READING: James 2:1-13
1. LIFE IS ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS
Relationships are the bedrock of life.
In a very real sense, everything rises and falls on relationship.
In the book of James chapter 2, the Apostle focuses on relationships.
He looks, in this passage, at our interaction with others.
Relationships are a vital component in our lives.
When I was a young boy, I had to learn a difficult lesson. It was Christmas and everyone was buying gifts for each other. My Mom wanted some slippers and my Dad gave her some money to buy herself some. My Uncle, who was much better off than us, or so we thought, bought his wife a large and expensive gift. When I saw this happen, I was heartsore and angry. Why could my extended family do so well, and we struggle so. My Dad took time with me and spoke to me about life. He explained that life was all about relationships and that all that really mattered was relationships. My Uncle had to often be away for business, and he compensated by buying large gifts. My father explained that it was not size of the gift that determined the state of affairs, but it was the value of relationships. At the time I thought He was just making excuses for the fact that he could not afford big gifts, but as time passed, I realised that he was correct.
Gifts can often be used as a substitute for relationships. We must never allow things to take the place of relationships.
I also remember when I went to Bible school, one of our lecturers opened up the first session with a message on relationships. He said that all the issues and problems people face can be traced to a relationship problem at the root. He also went on to say that all the success and opportunity people may enjoy can also be traced back to a redemptive relationship. He encouraged us, as we started in the ministry, to look after our relationships. He mentioned that it started with college secretary - he said: 'You just don't realise how powerful she is!' He went on to tell us to look after our relationships with our fellow students, parents and families. He also reminded us that as we work with people, we should look out for the relationship aspect, as it will always be a key to helping people. He also reminded us that ultimately life is about relationship with God and being reconciled to Him.
So, you see, life is all about relationships.
I have been blessed; in that I have managed to maintain life-long, good relationships with almost all of the people I have been in contact with.
I have also discovered that sooner or later I would need those relationships.
My father also endeavoured to stay in relationship with people, however hard it was. This opened many doors and allowed his life to be used in a remarkable way. These relationships crossed culture, educational and wealth boundaries and it brought great blessing a favour on his life. Many of those good relationships still produce fruit for us as a family today, years after his passing.
In the world in which we live today, relationships are disposable.
One moment we are BFF's (Best Friends Forever) and the next moment we are blocking those very same people from our phones.
We must not fall into this trap.
Just recently the president of our country came out and said that our country is battling great unemployment and he mentioned 3 reasons for this: 1. People have no assets to work with, 2. Lack of skills, 3. No network of connections. As I thought about this, I realized that what he was saying is that among other things, a lack of relationships closes the doors to opportunity.
We need to maintain Christ-like relationships with others.