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Relationships can be complicated. Understand, two transactions are at work in relationships. Sometimes we need to ask ourselves, are we adding or subtracting in the relationship?
As a parent, I naturally think moms give more than we take from our families.
All relationships are a series of taking and giving. Husbands, wives, parents, children, boss, employee.
That’s what came to mind reading the Lord’s words in John 13:15.
15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.
The example Jesus was referring to was washing His disciples’ feet after what would be His last meal with them. In the Lord’s selfless act, He showed the “law of addition” and the importance of serving rather than being served.
16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.
Are You an Adding or Subtracting in Your Relationship?
I love what author, speaker, and pastor, John Maxwell says about Christ-like serving in the Maxwell Leadership Bible:
|NKJV Comfort Print Maxwell Leadership Bible, Third Edition, Hardcover|
When leaders serve, they add value to the people who receive their service. This value might be as simple as feeling worthwhile or special.John Maxwell, Maxwell Leadership Bible
In describing what that added value can look like, he says:
It could be that the value is a resource we put in people’s hands or a word of encouragement we speak to them.John Maxwell, Maxwell Leadership Bible
giving in a relationship is simply a matter of putting others’ needs before our own
Washing a person’s feet may not be a practical way to serve someone. However, speaking a word of encouragement to a co-worker or smiling at someone in the grocery store, can make a difference in how you make that person feel.
Serving doesn’t have to be anything elaborate to add value to someone else’s life.
By the same token, you’re not limited by how you serve based on your position.
Here, the Lord Jesus is an excellent example of this since He came not to be served, but to serve and minister to those in need.
Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” - Matthew 20:28
In essence, giving in a relationship is simply a matter of putting others’ needs before our own, and being willing to meet that need.
When the Lord encountered people, they were left with something deposited in their life. Whether it was healing, peace or encouragement. He added, not subtracted from the encounter.
Without a doubt there’s no shortage of subtraction happening today.
Choosing to add to instead of subtracting from our daily interactions with others, is the ONLY way to love, serve and glorify God.