What is your most rewarding relationship?
Is it your wife?
According to Jesus, it could be someone you would never think.
Having a heart for some people hasn't come naturally for me. It's something I have allowed God to develop in me, and I believe it's the biggest lesson God has been trying to teach my wife and me over the years as we have lived and pastored in different places.
It has been my experience, and I have seen it also in others, that the most challenging, rewarding, fulfilling, and fruitful objective we can have is to give our lives away to others. Yet because this is so important, it is also the most difficult and potentially discouraging thing we can ever do, and the most tested thing. It is not an easy task, and it is a most costly lesson to learn.
Jesus always valued people and not just those who would enhance or benefit Him personally. To be like Him is to love difficult people, marginalized people, and even those who make themselves to be enemies to us. Jesus said…
“But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?” Matt. 5:44-46
Jesus speaks of reward concerning the most challenging relationships-enemies, the poor, the least of these. Jesus possesses the greatest heart for people, and he wants us to feel as he feels, convinced of the paramount importance of giving our lives for others-all of them.
We will be tested in this continually. We will think, “Is it worth it to give my life for people? The cost is just too high.” But if we commit ourselves to this, he will allow us to go through the necessary experiences to build our endurance. He wants to make us like Jesus, so he allows us to go through all kinds of struggles in order to mature us.
For those who learn to love like Christ, God will reward them. That is what I want for you and myself. I want us to live a rewarding life. I am glad that Jesus loved me while I was an unloving, ungrateful, undeserving enemy. Now I am challenged to love in the same manner. I am actively seeking to be like Jesus in this.
Do you have a challenging/rewarding relationship that you need to adopt a new attitude toward?