The Tuesday of the Basics Conference is always the longest. It starts early in the morning and goes till late at night and contains six sessions of teaching. As I have shared the past two days, I am not going to detail every session, but try to pick one aspect of the day that really hit home to me relationally and show how it can apply to my personal relationships.
In the evening session, Kevin DeYoung spoke on the parable of the laborers in the vineyard from Matthew 20. His point was whether we are looking at the world through lenses of grace or lenses of unfairness (read the parable and you will understand what that means). At the end of the parable, the land owner asks three questions to test the heart. First, did you not agree with me for a denarius? Second, am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? And third, do you begrudge my generosity? When good things happen to others, things that I believe should be happening to me, how do I respond?
Now, all of the message was thoughtful and powerful. But there was one part, really a tangent part of that message, that made me stop and think about me and our church. As he was detailing the second point (second question), he talked about how friendly our churches are. He said that many people do not care about how friendly your church is, but about whether or not they are interested in being friends. I tell people all the time that we should be the friendliest church around, but I am not so sure I teach that we should pursue friendship with them.
Then he shared an illustration about a student from Japan at their church. She told him that she felt the church was very friendly and people had really welcomed her. But in that, she felt as though she needed their friendship while they did not need hers. It gets to the heart of how we view people. Is our relationship quota full? Do we feel as though we don't need anyone else in our life?
At some level, people that step into our lives several years ago, we treat differently than people that step into our lives last week. Now, I understand that we have built deep bridges of trust with them that we do not have with the new people. But I wonder how many times we are too comfortable with those we went to work with at 6 am and won't even give those that show up at 3 pm the time of day in our life. Even though, we know they need us, we hardly ever let them know that we need them. We live as if we don't.
This is where pride reigns. The reality is that we do need others. We need the person that just showed up. It made me think about some of the relationships that I have with those that are newer at our church. I feel it that I need them, but I wonder how much I have communicate that. I hope I can more in the future.