And His gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the statue of the fullness of Christ.
Ephesians 4: 1-3
Relationships are about connections! That is the message today. You can’t have a relationship with someone without a connection. For instance, I am the father of a 16-year-old son. Regardless of what happens to me or to him, I am his biological father and nothing can change that. Even if we never spoke again, that fact can’t be changed. However, would I really be his “father” if we never spoke again? Biologically, yes. In reality, no. Because this relationship, like any other, is based on connections. Every time we talk, there is a connection. Every day that we don’t talk, there is a disconnection. Do I talk to my son 365 days a year? The answer is NO. I travel periodically so there may be a few days during the year, when I am travelling, or now when he is travelling, that we don’t talk, that we don’t make a connection.
Let’s say that two people hold a four-foot piece of yarn in between them. If one of the two people tugs on the yarn, it is going to break. One piece of yarn is not that strong. Let’s say that two people hold one hundred pieces of yarn in between them and then tug on them. You can pull as hard as you want, and two people cannot rip apart one hundred pieces of yard. The connection is too strong. If ten pieces of the yarn are cut, even intentionally, the connection is still strong enough. Two people aren’t going to be able to rip apart ninety pieces of yarn.
Some relationships, literally, are holding on by a thread. Where the strong connection was once 100 strands strong, it is now only hanging on by one. It won’t take much to break it.
There are some connections that are new, that are just being established. These, too, are holding on by a thread, but for a different reason. It will take some intentionality to make the connection stronger, so that there is enough there that if the connection gets tested, it will survive.
This idea of connections applies to marriage, to parenting children, to our parents, to close friendships, even to working relationships. It actually applies to EVERY kind of relationship. And this includes our relationship with God.
Some of us have a strong relationship with Christ at the moment. It can survive some setbacks and disappointments with not much threat at all. (Let’s digress for a minute to say that God’s relationship with us cannot be broken. He will never break His relationship with us. We can break our relationship with Him but He will not break His relationship with us. We may cut the strings that connect us to God. He is not going to cut the strings that connect Him to us.) When our relationship with God starts to fall apart, we have to ask ourselves why is the relationship feel like it is weak and vulnerable. Have we stopped connecting with God? Many of us are here with our relationship with God. We don’t take the time to make connections. We don’t pray or worship or read Scripture or act in a charitable way. We may not give God much thought at all. And we wonder why there doesn’t seem to be much of a connection.
Sin severs connection with God. If our connection is strong, sin will not threaten it. Which is a good thing, since we all sin. If we don’t have much of a connection with Christ and we sin, the connection will feel weak. If we have no connection at all, or if we are addicted to a specific kind of sin, then it won’t feel like there is a connection with God. That is truth.
Some of us are just starting a relationship with God. Maybe we’ve never really connected with Him before. Or maybe we used to and we’ve gone astray and now are back. How do we start, or re-start a relationship? By making connections with Him.
How do we establish a relationship with God if there isn’t one?
How do we grow a relationship with God?
How do we re-establish a relationship with God if we’ve been absent from Him for awhile?
The answer to all these question has to do with connecting with God.
The theme of this unit is “Where I am and where I want to be.” There are many people that are not satisfied with their relationship with Christ at this moment. The good news is that the relationship can change at any time merely with a connection. Think about the repentant thief on the cross. He connected with Christ in his dying breath and that connection was so strong that Christ told him that he would be in Paradise that very day.
A short prayer to God doesn’t seem like much of a connection, especially if you haven’t prayed in a while. A piece of yarn connected between two people doesn’t seem that strong either. But put down 10 pieces of yard, and that connection is stable. Put out 100 pieces of yarn and that connection is almost impenetrable. A small prayer will establish a connection. One hundred small prayers will make for a connection as strong as the connection between one hundred pieces of yard. Same thing with Scripture reading, worship, generosity, etc. One action in itself does not necessarily make for a strong relationship. Many actions, however small they may be, will make the connection strong enough to withstand anything. So if where you are with God is not where you want to be, evaluate your connection with Him—why you connect, and why you don’t—and invest some time in the relationship and see where it goes from there.
Lord, thank You that no matter what happens in life, that You never sever Your connection with me or anyone. Help me to make my connection with You stronger. Help this connection withstand my sins and my apathy which is both cause and consequence of sin. Place Yourself in my mind and my heart so that I will connect with You often. Amen.
Relationships are about connections!