What are the goals you set for yourself, for your children? Do these goals center on things like grades, good jobs, a sound financial position, a comfortable house, personal accomplishments, a secure retirement? These all have their upside and they are important! But are they the most important things in life.
Paul had a discussion once with the some of the greatest intellectual minds in Athens. Paul told these great thinkers about the reality of God’s control in the lives of humans. He told them that this God, whom they did not know, actually controlled their world, even down to giving them their next breath. His point was this God that he was proclaiming to them was worthy of their attention.
Unlike the great Greek thinkers, the Sadducees and the Pharisees did know who God was. But they thought that their knowledge of the law allowed them to make God accountable to them. So, they decided to play tag team against Jesus. In one particular go-around the Sadducees had failed get the upper hand. Now it was the Pharisees’ turn to entrap him.
The stakes in this game were high — the life of Jesus. A clever Pharisee made the next attempt. In a tone of mock deference, he asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” You can almost here the smugness in his voice. Go ahead Teacher, instruct us! Out of all the laws, tell us which is the greatest.
Jesus didn’t miss a beat:
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
Jesus spoke with authority and clarity. Quoting directly from Law, he exposed the experts as frauds. They too, had missed the point of what is important in life. Jesus made it clear. The most important part of life is relationships! First with God and then with your neighbor.
The three persons of the Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, exist in eternity in timeless, perfect relationship with each other. God created man for nothing less than relationship. Jesus described eternal life in John 17 in terms of relationships. Nothing is more important. Nothing.
What does this mean for you and your children? Simply this: don’t live for anything less than relationship with God and your neighbor. This is what Christ means when he says life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.
The acquisition of things, the accumulation of wealth, even modest wealth, the recognition of achievements, all have their place. Engaging in the many opportunities to work and to become skilled at our endeavors, pursuing education, making wise acquisitions are all important. But none of these can bear the weight of being the most important thing in life. They pale in significance to the importance of relationships. Learn from the wisdom of Christ!
Investing in relationships is the highest calling in life. Nothing else comes close!