What Relationships Are You Fostering

Our lives are filled with connections to people. We build these connections through shared experiences and moments, and just like the force of gravity, this connection is always present, even if though we don’t see it. However, in our fast-paced modern age filled with distractions and conveniences, we’re at risk of allowing these connections to weaken or even disappear. Our shared moments are becoming rare, and our relationships are increasingly defined by metrics and numbers rather than the depth of connection.

This trend is concerning, especially in a time when the pandemic has further isolated us from one another. It’s as if we’re adrift, disconnected from the fundamental aspects of life. But amid these challenges, there is hope. We can rediscover the essence of meaningful relationships by turning to the timeless lessons found in the New Testament, where intentional relationships formed discipleship in the early Christian community.

The Power Of A Moment: Consider the force of gravity; you can’t see it, but you know it’s always there, holding us to the ground. Similarly, our connections with others are a fundamental force in our lives, anchoring our relationships. Briefly, let us explore how intentional relationships, as demonstrated in the New Testament, can shape our lives and communities.

New Testament Examples

Jesus and His Disciples: The New Testament portrays Jesus and His disciples as the embodiment of intentional relationships. Jesus didn’t merely preach to His disciples; He lived with them, shared meals with them, and allowed them to witness His daily life. This closeness enabled His disciples to learn not only from His teachings but also from His example.

Paul and Timothy: The relationship between the apostle Paul and Timothy offers deep insights into mentorship and discipleship. Paul invested time and guidance in Timothy, nurturing his growth as both a Christian and a young minister laboring in the Word. This intentional relationship bore lasting fruit in the early church and demonstrates the power of mentorship in shaping future leaders.

The Early Christian Community in Acts: Acts 2:42-47 provides a glimpse into the intentional relationships within the early Christian community. They didn’t merely gather for worship; they devoted themselves to teaching, fellowship, breaking bread together, and prayer. This shared life strengthened their bonds and facilitated their mission to spread the Gospel wherever they went.

Reclaiming the Fundamentals: As we reflect on these New Testament examples, we should be compelled to increase our togetherness. The stories of Jesus and His disciples, Paul and Timothy, and the early Christian community in Acts, lead us to prioritize genuine connections in our lives.

The distractions of our world, and the isolation brought about by the pandemic, serve as moving reminders of the significance of these intentional relationships. It’s time for us to take a step back, reevaluate our priorities, and reconnect with the fundamentals.

Reconnecting Today: In the 21st century, our fast-paced lives often prioritize speed and efficiency, valuing digital communication over meaningful connections. The pandemic highlighted the importance of what I would call “presentness”, revealing that virtual interactions can’t replace face-to-face connections. Let’s reevaluate our multitasking habits and invest more time, attention, and care in our relationships.

Prioritizing Face-to-Face Connection: While technology has undoubtedly enriched our lives, it should complement, not replace, the essential human need for face-to-face interaction. In the early Christian community, gatherings were more frequent than worship services, allowing them to have opportunities for genuine connections. They shared meals, prayers, and life experiences together. Those are truly the times that draw a community together.

Improving Our Relationships: So, how can we build and nurture authentic relationships? Here are a few ideas for your consideration:

Quality Over Quantity: Rather than trying to maintain a vast number of superficial connections, focus on fewer deep and meaningful relationships. Quality often surpasses quantity in the realm of relationships.

Unplug and Engage: Set aside dedicated time to unplug from digital devices and engage in meaningful conversations with friends and loved ones. Be fully present in the moment. Spend less time in front of screens whether alone or with others.

Listen Actively: Actively listening to others is a powerful way to show that you value their time and presence. It builds understanding and empathy, strengthening the bonds between individuals.

Share Experiences: Create opportunities for shared experiences, whether through hobbies, volunteering, or simply spending time together. These shared moments are fundamental to what makes for a true relationship.

Express Gratitude: Regularly express your appreciation for the people in your life. Gratitude acts as a glue in strengthening our connections.

Conclusion: In a world that prioritizes speed and efficiency, we must recognize the profound importance of our connections. The New Testament’s guidance on intentional relationships offers a path to rediscovering the life Jesus lived as an example for our own. As we invest time and care into our relationships, we enrich our lives and fortify the bonds that define our Christian community. Let’s get back to the basics and nurture relationships that mirror Christ’s love, grace, and obedience. This practice can bridge the gaps created by modern distractions and isolation, while fostering enduring connections.