Currency of Life
I was thinking...
I am not certain where I first became aware of the quote “Relationship is the currency of ministry.” It was one of those ‘Amen’ moments for me. It is theologically and practically grounded. When the world was created God sought relationship with creation. When man and woman disobeyed, that relationship was fractured. From that moment forward God sought to restore that relationship even amongst the circumstances of sin.
Despite efforts of the Patriarchs, the Kings, the Judges, the Prophets, nothing seemed to restore the human heart relationship with God’s heart. Then enters Jesus, God’s only child, to become that necessary atonement for our sin and brokenness. Through his life, death, and resurrection…we have a roadmap to restored relationship with God. Relationship is not only the currency of ministry…it is the currency of life.
When our children were in the middle of a squabble (usually over something silly and in the scheme of life…not significant at all), we as their parents would hear ourselves often say something like “OK…think about how you are treating each other, he/she is your brother/sister. Someday, you will rely upon him/her. Don’t spoil the relationship.” Now as they are adults and have children of their own (our perfect in every way grandchildren), nothing thrills us more than to see them relate well with each other.
Think about this with regards to our vast human family. We can often let the silliest of things come between us and another person. We have become such an unhealthy society of entitled spirits with egos the size of Mac trucks. In the process, we maim and injure relationships with a haphazardness that poisons leaving a trail of ash in our wake.
For those things that seem worth battling over, perhaps it would behoove us to become students of history. Often that which we thought were so mightily important have proven to be not so important at all. Wars/conflicts that have been costly in too many ways have proven to have left us with regret and a bad taste in our proverbial mouths. Children suffer greatly from adult conflict in the home that can lead to irreparable damage. Friendships broken over misunderstandings and differing opinions…If “relationship is the currency of life,” we seem to, all too often, behave as if we do not believe in relationships at all.
I am not suggesting that we survive relationships at any cost. No…to become a doormat for someone else’s feet wiping in order to save a relationship is egregious…never ever a good thing. But I sense that we could do better than we are doing at investing in relationships. Our caring for one another…giving each other the benefit of the doubt…talking to each other instead of about each other…having healthy boundaries with regards to relationships on social media (just to name a few) …all might go a long way in growing healthy relationships.
There is a rule of ethics that is called “Golden” for a reason, yet it can be so easily forgotten in a moment of emotion… “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It is a maxim that is found in most religions and cultures. It is no surprise that Jesus would quote it in his day and Matthew would remember and record it in Matthew 7:12.
Lord, help me to live and love toward others as I would desire them to live and love toward me. Maybe this is your prayer too.
The Rev. Dr. Terry E. Walton
Executive Assistant to the Bishop