BY MICHELLE WILLIAMS, VOLUNTEER EXTRAORDINAIRE
The seventh ingredient of the Good Life is Relationships. To have rich, meaningful relationships, you have to build them.
Melody opened the sermon with an illustration drawn from family life. Although her 4 children each have distinctive personalities and unique hopes and dreams, they all have one thing in common: None of them wants to sleep alone in their beds at night. To help them feel safe and loved when the night is dark and they feel alone, she tucks them back with the promise I will check on you. In her words, she “woos them to bed with predictable, relentless compassion.”
This is the essence of rich, meaningful relationships. We all want people in our lives who will show us predictable, relentless compassion, especially when the night is dark and we feel all alone. Even Jesus wanted that. We studied the story in Mark 14: 32-42, when Jesus and his spiritual community were in the olive grove in Gethsemane. He asked his disciples to keep watch while he prayed through his distress; he knew that the time was drawing near when he would be betrayed.
From this story, we can learn about Jesus’ model of Relationships.
1) Being part of a healthy spiritual community means living life together. Jesus’ disciples were his closest friends. They were like his family. He was in the midst of celebrating Passover with his spiritual community.
2) Being part of a healthy spiritual community means articulating your feelings and needs. Jesus asked his friends to sit and keep watch because he was full of sorrow and distress. Unless he had told them, his spiritual community may not have known how he was feeling—especially since they were confused about why he felt that way at the time.
3) Being part of a healthy spiritual community means handling disappointment with honesty and grace. Communities and relationships have limitations, and our friends may disappoint us at times. Even with Jesus, his friends failed to support him three times when he needed it. Even through all of the disappointment, Jesus still loved his disciples through all of the betrayal and doubt.
4) Being part of a healthy spiritual community means we are protected and unified by the power of the name of God. Jesus showed us how to love and find unity with one another and with the Father. Our unity is the greatest convincing factor of the Truth—that Jesus is our Savior who came to protect us.
The good life is one of rich, meaningful relationships. But to have them, we have to build them. Sometimes building relationships is hard work, but there are some practical steps:
Worship regularly with your community.
Pray with your spiritual community. Lean on the resources at Grace, whether it’s a prayer gathering or the prayer team after each service.
Get involved with your spiritual community; consider serving with a team or joining a group.
Practice hospitality; make your home a place of peace, rest and warmth for others.
Disciple someone or be discipled by someone in The Way of Discipleship.
Relationships enrich our lives.That’s why they are an ingredient of the Good Life. Imagine being that person of predictable, relentless compassion for someone else—someone who may desperately need it. To have rich, meaningful relationships, we must first build them.