“Wherever I go whatever I do
I wonder where I am in my relationship to you”
In Your Atmosphere- John Mayer
“It’s the thought that counts.” I’m sure we have all said this at least once (whether that be serious or sarcastic) and to some degree we all believe it. I think I believe it, I mean let’s say for instance I get a gift from my mom, the love I have for her would never be affected by the gift she gets me. But on the other hand the love I have is deeply affected by the heart behind that gift or any other daily interaction. I think I would be hard pressed to find someone who did not agree with these statements, and that is because we all really understand that people and their hearts matter much more than the things that they do. I think this ties closely into another saying, “Quality time over quantity time”. Again in this we see an understanding that true connection and people’s raw hearts matter more than abundance of physical/material things.
Relationship matters so much more than anything in this world. This is a lesson I learned in in a few ways while I spent six months overseas. One way I learned was through missing my family. As much as I missed them more than I ever have before, my love for them did not fade, it actually grew. I definitely did not have quantity time with them but the quality time in our past held us together in that time. Another example would be when I spent Christmas day in China. I received a small gift of odds and ends that would remind me of home along with a bunch of cards from my loved ones. This was not the ‘best’ material gift I ever received by a long shot. But it pulled me close to my family that day in only a way that love can.
Another way that I learned it was through a revelation God gave to me in scripture. As I was reading one morning one single verse stuck out to me, “And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.” 1 Kings 11:9 (ESV). I was suddenly struck by the fact that God appeared to Solomon twice and that was supposed to be enough, and struck even deeper by the fact that God has shown up in my life way more than twice. I realized how much I had been living for my next experience of God and for the next gift He would give me and I was not living in pure love for Him, motivated by the heart He has behind the gifts and interactions. This is just like I said before, I don’t love my mom because of what she does but why she does it, why do I treat God differently? And God above all else delivers quality time, why was I doubting His goodness?
Now I believe that we truly live in the most blessed time. When Jesus left he said that the Holy Spirit would follow. I believe that we encounter God daily because of this and we get to see God more than Solomon would ever imagine in his time. But that is not the point I am trying to make. I am not trying to convince anyone that God will never encounter them again, and that the Holy Spirit will never rock your socks again. All I am getting at is we need to be at a place that if indeed we never saw Him again our love should not shake. Just like when loved one passes away, our love never fades. I heard someone say once, if people look at your life will they see your last conviction from God? It is important to look ahead and always push for more, but it is equally important to remember where you have come from and where God has moved. And that’s the kind of life I am trying to lay out here and trying to live daily. If we always live for what we can get out of God that is not true love and that is not true relationship. How many of us forget repentance but go to a worship service because we just need that good feeling again and ‘just haven’t felt God lately’? I want to become a man that lives only motivated by the love I have for my God and not motivated by what I can get out of Him, I invite you to join the same journey.