There are countless stories in the Bible of God pursuing people for relationship. The ultimate story that points to all of the other stories and then exceeds them is the story of Jesus. God reveals himself to us in scripture. God also reveals his “ways” in scripture. He is the God who moves toward us, get close, and then shows us what love looks like. He took the first step toward us.
Moving Toward Others
We have the opportunity now to move toward others. As you think about what this might look like, consider the various levels of relationships in your life? The closest people in life are often family. It might be a spouse, or parents, or siblings. Then there are close friends and coworkers. They are the people that we see often, sometimes daily. Further out, are acquittances, other community members, civic groups, and others. As you think about taking a step toward others, who needs a touch most right now?
If you’re an introvert this might be more difficult. Extroverts usually don’t struggle with engaging people. Introverts just don’t and appear to be aloof. Extroverts just do and risk seeming friendly and fun, but shallow. Real relationship. Real movement toward other people is neither aloof nor shallow because it is intentional and purposeful.
- The first human relationship in the Bible is a family, so we give priority to our family.
- Jesus is our friend, so take friendship seriously.
- God loves us before we deserve to be loved, so we reflect his love and seek to love others.
- God forgives so we forgive those who sin against us.
Examples from the Bible
One of the great friendships in the Bible is Jonathan’s friendship with David. Immediately after David defeated Goliath, it says that Jonathan became one in spirit with David and loved him as himself (1 Samuel 18:1). When King Saul, Jonathan’s father attempted to kill David, it was Jonathan who protected him. The amazing thing about their relationship is that it was Jonathan who took the first step. Jonathan was the one with the power, and the most to lose, and yet he stepped toward a younger counterpart.
I also love the story of Abigail from 1 Samuel 25. Abigail was married to a wealthy, but unwise man by the name of Nabal. When David was hiding from Saul, David reached out to Nabal for some help. Nabal not only turned David down, Nabal insulted him. David was so angry, he dressed for war. Abigail “stepped” in. She went to David’s camp with a peace offering and encouraged David to let go of his anger and not get blood on his hands.
There other countless other stories of people who took the first step toward others. Ruth chose to stand with her mother-in-law Naomi even if it meant a life of poverty. Esther chose to intercede for all of Israel even at the risk of death. David, after Jonathan’s death, sought out Jonathan’s son Mephibosheth, to show his appreciation for the friendship. The Apostle Paul took Timothy under his care. Barnabus took John Mark.
What would it look like for you to take a step toward others?
- Who can you be praying intentionally for?
- What can you do to show kindness to people around you?
- How can you serve someone nearby?
- Who can you call or set up a visit with?
Jesus came for you and to you. He stepped out of heaven to show you what love looks like. You are invited into his ministry. You are invited to step toward others.
John 13:34–35 (NIV)
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”