Several years ago I was in much need of counseling. I felt like my life was falling into shambles, and I needed someone to just listen to my problems and guide me to a solution. I didn’t have a church home at the time, but I knew I needed a Christian perspective in my life, so I called a local church and scheduled a meeting with their pastor.
Three days later I sat across from the lead pastor ready to pour out my soul. My heart was open to whatever criticism or insight he may have for me. Instead of leading with a question to see the reason I was there, the pastor opened up with:
“I’ve seen a lot of your work online, and I think you’d fit in right here with our church. If you’re looking for a church home, we could get you plugged into volunteering on the media team immediately!”
My heart dropped.
I wasn’t here in this office, because I was looking to volunteer. I didn’t need to hear how my skills of videography and graphic design would be a perfect fit for their church. I needed someone to just listen to me. I wanted to be known for who I was not for what I do.
While the pastor showed genuine excitement (and I know his motives most likely came out of a pure place), all I could see was a man who wanted to use my skill set to further his gain rather than getting to know me. Needless to say, I didn’t sign up to volunteer, and that entire counseling session was a bust.
This is the tricky thing about having hustle. We start viewing people for what they can do for us and how they can help us succeed rather than appreciating them as human beings. When we see people as a means to an end rather than a relationship, most likely our moral compass is way off base.
We all have that “friend” who only calls when they need something. They make small-talk for the first five minutes of the conversation, which normally takes place on a random Saturday, and then they quickly transition to “well the reason I was calling was because…”
Those relationships are toxic and a lot of times add a lot of unneeded stress to our lives.
The thing is, I know that I am not just the victim here, I commit this sin as we well.
So how can we start making relationships more important than the return?
What Does Scripture Say About Relationships?
12 As he came into a small town, ten men who had a skin disease met him there. They did not come close to Jesus 13 but called to him, “Jesus! Master! Have mercy on us!” 14 When Jesus saw the men, he said, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” As the ten men were going, they were healed. Luke 17:12-14
We hear a passage like this and think to ourselves oh that’s a nice thing. Jesus healed a bunch of lepers. That was really nice of him. Then we go about our day. Let’s dig into this passage right now.
Let’s put ourselves in the leper’s shoes for a moment. If this was you, how would you feel about what Jesus just did?
You would hate it!
The lepers hated what Jesus did.
They were disappointed. Think about it. They went up to Jesus for healing, and he sends them off in a different direction. Talk about a letdown. What they wanted was for Jesus to heal them instantly, but instead, they had to go to the priest. It was then on the way to the priest, a process happened, and they were healed.
Life change happens in the process.
I don’t know about you, but I am guilty of looking at Jesus for what He can do for me and never look at Jesus for who He really is.
I want Jesus to heal me.
I want Jesus to make my relationships right.
I want Jesus to grow things.
I want Jesus to say “now is the time for you to enjoy peace in your life.”
I want Jesus to work on my schedule and my way on my terms.
If He doesn’t, I’m not all that interested in working with Jesus. I’m treating Jesus like a person who can do something for me instead of standing before him and being overwhelmed and in awe saying, “You are the King of kings, have your way.”
Jesus works radically different than what you expect. You may be asking yourself, “wait, why did Jesus send the lepers off to the priest anyway?” The reason is rather simple really. You see, during those times the priests were the only ones able to declare if someone was clean. Jesus knew that if he healed the lepers on the spot, they wouldn’t be reported as “clean” and thus still be shunned from the rest of society.
“It’s not personal, it’s just business” is one of the worst sayings our society has created. Why? This type of thinking allows us to treat people without respect and honor and hide in the facade that it was “ok” to be a jerk because it was a business transaction.
When we treat people with honesty, kindness, and like actual people, we will find that they naturally want to be a part of what we are doing. Your employees will work harder. Your volunteers will want to volunteer more time. When people feel valued, they become more loyal to your brand.
Same could be said about your customers. People want to be a part of something that is authentic and genuine. People are paying more to be a part of companies who are following a higher ethical standards.
Engage in Relationships.
Give More and Take Less.
Answer the Questions In The Comment Section Below
What can you bring to the relationship rather than what you are getting from the relationship?
Are you treating Jesus like a person who can do something for you?
When was the last time you called someone with no motive other than to hear how their day was going?
Today, may you see people for who they are and not what they can do for you. May you treat Jesus as a person and not a wish list. May you put more effort into your relationships rather than your return.