“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” (Luke 12:21 NLT)
The word “relationship,” as defined by The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, simply means “the state of being related or interrelated.” Many today have relatives without relationships. And a growing number of people are living together out of wedlock, or, in other words, seeking a relationship without being legally related. Add to that the number of children who are born with virtually no identity. Yes, of course, most have names, but they have no real, loving parental relationship.
Often, for varying reasons, young people have ambition to attain wealth, fame, power, and position that will net them financial security and acclaim. Unfortunately, often the cost of that “fast track” is no long-term relationships. Burning the proverbial “bridges” often means leaving behind any semblance of “roots” or family and little or no time to build new relationships.
In the above verse, Jesus is not saying that having earthly wealth and having a rich relationship with God are mutually exclusive. He’s saying to seek wealth without having a rich relationship with God is foolish. Why? Because to treat the brief time we have on this earth as though that is all there is, ignores the incalculable numbers of years we’ll be living after we leave this earth. Yet, the Bible clearly teaches that how and why we live this life determines to a very large degree where we’ll spend eternity.
Relationship in Scripture equals partnership – bound to another through mutually agreeable desires, attitudes, and commitment. That’s what can make the Church so attractive. Unfortunately, not all churches and/or church gatherings reflect God’s desire for us to be that.
Paul’s closing verse in 2 Corinthians 13 says: “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” This verse is a picture of the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and the different roles each Person of the Godhead plays in our lives.
There would be no relationship with God if the Father didn’t love us and desire that for us. That’s why He planted eternity in our hearts, to give us a longing for something that will long outlast the few years we spend struggling on this earth.
But God’s love alone isn’t enough to repair the gap created by our sin and waywardness. Jesus bridged that gap between us and the Father by offering His own body on the Cross to pay the penalty for our sin and make it possible for us to not only have an eternal relationship with God, but with each other.
Then the Holy Spirit makes “koinonia” – fellowship with God possible by taking up residence in the hearts and lives of each one who opens themselves to a relationship with God through Christ alone, by faith alone. But “koinonia” is far more than meals and good times. It means “community, joint participation, intimacy, communication.” In short, it was God’s idea to enable His family, His Body on earth, to exhibit the kind of relationship that exists between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The relevancy of relationship exists when the Body of Christ actually illustrates what a family is supposed to be. My precious wife has been gone all day, sitting with her friend who is dying. She’s not there because she has to be, she’s there because the prompting of God compels her to love like Jesus and be His hands and feet in service to those who are no longer able to care for themselves.
We’ll pick this up tomorrow.
Blessings, Ed 😊