Interpersonal Relationships: Your Greatest Asset
Sunday, November 01, 2015
Pretend for a moment that you have a very wealthy relative who, in spite of not knowing you well, decides to leave you his entire multi-billion dollar estate. Included in this estate is one of the last undeveloped, privately-held islands off the coast of St. Thomas. The 270 acre island stretches almost 2 miles east to west, culminating in a breath-taking eastern peak that overlooks the sandy white beaches and tranquil turquoise waters of your own Caribbean estate.
This is the perfect place to build your dream home. You can build it just the way you want, decorate it with the finest furnishings, and turn it into your own private paradise. A beautiful network of paved roads has been constructed and you even get to pick your dream car to get around in. Anything you want. Your heart begins to race. Things are looking up!
However, there's a catch (isn't there always?).
At the bottom of the contract you see some rather small, fine print. As you read it your countenance starts to change. Your heart stops racing a bit, your jaw begins to open. It seems your relative wasn't without a sense of humor.
The only way you'll be allowed to receive the inheritance is if you agree to never leave the island. Not only that, but you can't have anybody visit the island either. In fact, you will never be allowed to make contact with another human being ever again; not by phone, not by email, and certainly not in person. All of the wealth, all of the riches, will be left for you and you alone, for the rest of your life.
Ready to sign?
If we're being honest, the answer is no way! Deep down inside we know that even million-dollar possessions won't do us any good if we don't have anybody to share them with. What good is a 12 bedroom estate if you live there all alone, year after year after year? It may be amazingly beautiful, but with nobody to invite over to share it with, it becomes a lonely box of isolation growing steadily smaller as the years pass by. Finally, after decades without human contact, you would be ready to give it all up for the chance to speak to somebody you love again.
But it would be too late.
If it's true that you wouldn't give up human contact for all the material possessions your heart could desire, then it must also be true that Interpersonal Relationships are the single most valuable thing that you possess. Social connections, knowing you have the love and support of others, make us who we are and contribute to our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. You have a wealth of these connections all around you, and since you wouldn't trade them for all the money in the world, they must be very valuable. The truth is, you're already rich!
Nobody on their deathbed ever wished they had purchased a bigger house or a nicer car. Nor do they wish they had spent more time collecting antiques, playing sports, or going to work. Again and again they regret not spending time with the ones they love. They wish they had invested more into their Interpersonal Relationships.
The good news is that it's not too late for you. Much like the wealthy relative in our story, your heavenly Father has left you an inheritance. He has given you the ability to love and be loved. You have the capacity to enter into healthy social relationships and to give yourself freely to those around you. When you do this, you will find that they also have been designed to give back to you. It is in this giving and receiving of love and affection that we can experience true joy and fulfillment. This is the type of spiritual and emotional health that God wants for you. And, it gets even better. There are no disclaimers, no hidden fees, and no contracts!