Notes: HIDDEN TREASURES
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.
2. THINGS THAT CAN DESTROY RELATIONSHIPS
- There are many things that destroy and undermine relationships.
- In the book of James, the Apostle focuses on three aspects that can destroy relationships.
- His focus is on our interaction with others and he tells us some of the things that we should avoid.
- There is something here for us to learn.
- James 2:1 'My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favouritism.'
- In my Bible the heading for this chapter says: 'Favouritism Forbidden!'
- Favouritism is when we show special favour to one above another.
- Favouritism is when we show partiality or preference to one person to the exclusion of others.
- We begin to feel like one person has more worth because of how they dress, or how much money they have, or their position or what we feel they have done for us.
- The Bible makes it clear that favouritism should not be part of our lives.
- Yet it seems such a natural thing.
- Favouritism has its root in our personal preferences and not in the value of people.
- Favouritism is destructive, in families, in schools, in law, in society and in life.
- It robs us of something, perhaps something that we never knew we needed.
- The Bible tells us that God does not show favouritism and neither should we.
- It's not always easy, but we must deal with it and walk in victory in this aspect.
- Discrimination is another aspect that can destroy relationships.
- James 2:4 '...Have you not discriminated among yourselves...'
- When we discriminate, we move on from favouritism and now we actually make a distinction and we place people into certain categories.
- It comes with a ruthlessness that assigns people into different positions.
- No longer are we only dealing with our preference, it now becomes a decision.
- We begin to say that certain people are always like that.
- I think the root cause of discrimination is pride and thinking that we are better than others.
- It can even lead to institutional discrimination as it did in certain countries.
- It brings great destruction.
- Discrimination can also the result of our conditioning and how we were taught by the examples of others.
- Discrimination comes in, the moment we have an 'us and them' mentality.
- How do we overcome this in our lives?
- We look at the example Jesus set, and we follow that.
- He washed the feet of Judas, knowing that Judas was traitor.
- He ministered in Gentile regions and in Samaria.
- He came to earth to break down the barriers that separated people.
- We are told what to do.
- Philippians 2:3 'Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.'
- There is another aspect that can destroy relationship, and that is judgementalism.
- James 2:4 '...have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?'
- Judgementalism is to have a tendency to judge harshly.
- I was a victim of this myself.
- As a young man, I was carrying a great weight of responsibility. It necessitated many meetings with many people and the making of quick, accurate decisions. Over time I developed this and when people walked into my office and I would take one look at them and already make my decision before even hearing them out. It was born out of necessity, but it was very destructive, and I had to repent of it.
- I remember my late father preaching a sermon entitled: 'STOP JUDGING ONE ANOTHER!'
- Perhaps we need to hear a message like that again.
- It is after-all what Jesus tells us to do.
- The Lord Jesus was extremely practical in His advice to us.
- In Matthew 7:1 Jesus commanded us not to judge others: 'Do not judge others!'
- Judging others always boomerangs onto us.
- Matthew 7:1 'Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.'
- Matthew 5:7 'Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.'
- God would never tell us to do something we cannot do!
3. BE MORE HUMAN
- This is the challenge to each one of us in the area of relationships.
- The question is what are we to do?
- I would like to suggest that we 'be more human!'
- What does it mean to be more human?
- I think Jesus spoke into this aspect.
- Matthew 7:12 'Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.'
- This is what we are designed and instructed to do.
- I believe the most human people will be the best people.
- I believe the most human companies will be the best companies.
- I believe the most human churches will be the most effective churches.
- I believe if we could be more human, it would change the whole atmosphere of our lives.
- You see, I believe kindness is good for us.
- I recently discussed this matter with a qualified professional who has looked into this subject. She shared with me the following:
1. Scientific evidence has proven that kindness changes the brain and impacts the heart and immune system and may even be an antidote to depression.
2. We are actually genetically wired to be kind.
3. When we are kind, our bodies are healthiest.
4. Love and kindness can make a damaged heart regenerate faster and can even extend lifespan.
5. That kindness and compassion stimulate the nervous system to combat inflammation, the underlying source of most diseases, including cancer.
6. Gratitude can make you at least 25% happier.You see, you are wired to be kind.
- James 2:13 'Mercy triumphs over judgment.'
- We should begin to move in mercy, kindness and 'being more human'.
- Mercy brings with it more rewards than judgement.
- Let's ask ourselves what Jesus would do, and then let us do it and follow His example.
4. HIDDEN TREASURES
- You see, it is within relationships that we will discover hidden treasures.
- We discover that it may not be as it seems and under all the issues and challenges within relationships there are great treasures to be discovered.
- James 2:5 'Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith...'
- Here we see the hidden treasure.
- The poor (in the eyes of the world) are rich in faith.
- There is a hidden treasure within each and every human being, that includes the ones you like and the ones you don't like.
- As I mentioned at the beginning, I have had the joy of being able to maintain life-long relationships. In this, I have discovered that at the most needed time, the most unlikely people have become the very treasure I needed to be able to get through what I was facing.
- You see, the hidden treasure in others, may not be revealed until the moment you need it in your life.
- This is all dependent on your staying in relationship with those you come in contact with.
- Life is all about relationships.
- Let us do what the Apostle James told us to do.
- Value relationships with all others, don't show favouritism, don't discriminate, don't judge, but rather show mercy and discover the hidden treasure God has placed in each person, regardless of their personality, wealth or position.
- Mercy triumphs over judgement!
By: Andrew W Roebert
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