Thursday, July 01, 2004

A Reason, A Season, And A Lifetime

Commentary to the 3rd Quarter Sabbath Sabbath School Lesson. #1

Of all the junk-email we get, I once received an interesting one that discussed relationships. It said they are all ordained or allowed by God for a purpose. The purpose can fit one of three categories. Those categories are: a) Reason, b) Season, and c) Lifetime. Each has different a timeline. The reason category is the shortest. The person comes in to your life to solve a specific problem. Once they have helped you they leave, and you may never see them again. Those who come in for a season stay longer. Their purpose may take longer to evolve. Sometimes they stay long enough to make you think they are in for a lifetime, then something happens, and the relationship is severed without a clear explanation. The category of relationships that lasts for a lifetime is self-explanatory. These persons never leave you.

Our relationship with God is the most important. Without His presence in our life all other relationships are impossible. God provides for us what is needed to relate to Him as well as others. When He comes into our lives, we see ourselves as we really are and realize how great He is. We realize that He wants to interact with us. He loves us. He would have not given up his Son otherwise (John 3:16.) He sent His Holy Spirit to be in us in the present and prepare us to interact to eternally with the whole Godhead in the future. Without His Spirit we are unlovable and non-relatable. Without His Spirit we carry on fearful, lonely lives, quietly desperate. With His Spirit's presence we become loving and attractive to others, for He changes our hearts and minds from uncaring, selfish, self centered, and egotistical to caring, self-less, other-centered, and humble beings. Not only do others fall in love with our Godly characters, we also become interested in them.

Adam met God before he met Eve. Adam knew God before he knew Eve. God created Eve to be a helper comparable to Adam (Genesis 2:18.) In the Hebrew it says a helper fit for Adam. She was Adam's perfect complement. Where Adam lacked, Eve completed Him. Where Eve lacked Adam completed her. God designed it this way. God made them one – a complete whole. If there is a lifetime relationship the spouse is it. The spouse is the most important relationship anyone can have outside of God. Your spouse is more important than your pastor, friends, parents, siblings, relatives, church brethren, and co-workers. You do not become one with any of those. The man is to leave his home and cleave to his wife. The man and his wife are to submit to each other (Ephesians 5:21.) The man is to love her like Christ loves the church. Christ gave His life for the church (Ephesians 5:25.) They are to bless each other, which means that they are to add value and increase each other. Ron Blue, a Christian financial expert, says, "If a couple does not agree, a decision has not been made." You've heard it said, "No man is
an island." In a marriage this means that both man and wife, as a unit, are not an island. They are one. Just ask couples that have divorced. They will tell you that divorce is death compared to any other ruptured relationship. That is partly because marriage is for a lifetime not a season. Notice that when the Bible says it is not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18), God created for man a wife. Had God wanted Adam to relate to a community He would have created one. Does this mean man is to relate to his wife and not to other people? No! It means that if a man does not learn to relate to his wife he will probably not truly learn to relate in an intimate fashion with anyone else. In fact, most problems in marriage occur because men will not listen to their wives.

There are other lifetime relationships: parents, children, and other relatives. There are clear guidelines in the Bible as to the treatment they should receive. Sister White has also written extensively on these matters. God decided we should be related to these individuals for a purpose. It was no accident.

A man or woman who is mature is a steward. He or she will make sure the gifts and resources entrusted to him or her are distributed and shared with others. This will be done according to the guidelines and parameters established by God and in concert with Him. A “seasonal” relationship is not for taking advantage of the person or is it just for merely “hanging out.” A “reason” relationship is not for a one-night stand. A mature man or woman knows that all relationships exist to demonstrate God’s character. A mature man or woman knows that God blesses so that others can be blessed through them. The same goes for single stewards. In fact, God may use single stewards to bless married couples.

Whatever the type of relationship, by God's grace, we are to Love the individual as God would. You say, "I have no love, I don’t even like that person." You are right. It is not your love they need; it is God's love in you. Will you let God love them through you? Your salvation and theirs may depend on it.

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