On the first day God created the dog and said, “Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at every one who comes in and goes out.”
And God said, “For this dog, I’m going to give you a life span of 20 years.”And God said, “For this dog, I’m going to give you a life span of 20 years.”
And the dog said, “That’s too long to do all of that barking. How about I give you ten back and let’s just make it a 10-year life span?” And God agreed.
On the second day God created the monkey and said, “Entertain people and do monkey tricks. Make them laugh! And for this I’m going to give you a 20-year life span.”
And the monkey said, “Twenty years is a long time to perform and make people laugh. How about we do like the dog did and I’ll just take 10 years and I’m going to give you ten back?” And God agreed.
On the third day God created the cow and said, “You’re going to go into the field with the farmer all day long and your going to suffer under the sun and you’re going to have calves and you’re going to give milk to support the farmers family. And for this, I’m going to give you a life span of 60 years.”
And the cow said, “That’s way too long to do all of that work. How about we make it 20 and I’m going to give you 40 back?” And God agreed.
And then on the next day God created man and said, “Eat, sleep, play, enjoy yourself, and for this, I’m going to give you 20 years.”
And man said, “What? Only 20 years?” he said, “How about this God; could you possibly give me my 20, give me the 40 the cow gave you back, give me the 10 the monkey gave you back, and give me the 10 the dog gave you back, and let’s make it 80!” And God agreed.
So that is why for the first 20 years we eat, sleep, play, and enjoy ourselves!
And for the next 40 years, we slave in the sun to support our family. For the next 10 years we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren, and for the last 10 years we sit on the front porch and bark at everybody who goes by!
That’s funny, but life has to be more than that! For me, there is a word that has enormous meaning to all of life. Jesus said that you can summarize the entire Bible on this one word. It’s simply the word “Relationships.” Relationships. Your quality of life is going to be determined by your relationships. Even heaven is determined on your relationship with God; it’s not what you know, it’s who you know that’s going to determine where you spend eternity!
My relationship decisions are the most important decisions that I will ever make in my entire life. The one aspect that has had the most influence in where you are right now is the people that have been in your life. It’s been said that “your net worth is determined by your network.” Jesus said this in Matthew 18:20. “For where two or three gather together as my followers. I am there among them ‘ Now that’s a network!
Why is Jesus so interested in our relationships? And the answer is very simple; real life change takes place in the context of relationships. Why is Jesus so interested in relationships? Real life change is going to be impacted by the people in your life. And that’s why Jesus said, ‘If you’ll be intentional about your gatherings, I’ll step in the middle of that and do something pretty powerful.’
That’s why I meet with several groups of believers called Growth Groups. When we meet, Jesus is there. Sure, I have a natural desire to want to be independent, not thinking I need others. But I resolve to be connected this year.
If you’re not involved with a group for encouragement, support and growth you no doubt have reasons why you’re not. Here’s a verse that I think expresses the downsides of not having good relationships. Ecclesiastes 4:8,
There was a man… What type of man? …all alone; he had neither son nor brother…
He didn’t have anybody he could relate to. The result?
…life was so meaningless and depressing…
He was wealthy, but it was not enough. As Americans we are wealthy, but its not enough. This guy obviously tried thinking; “Maybe I’ll work harder, spend more hours at the office, I’ll pick up some hobbies, I’ll try to make more money.” And it didn’t scratch the itch because real-life change takes place in the context of relationships not work. It’s the most important decision you’ll ever make in your life. Who will you do life with? You want life explained? It’s our relationships.
In the next post I’ll examine some of the reasons that I (and maybe you) give for not connecting in relationships with others.