“Whenever you cross my mind, I thank my God for you and for the gift of knowing you. My spirit is lightened with joy whenever I pray for you (and I do constantly) because you have partnered with me to spread the gospel since the first day I preached to you.” Philippians 1:3-4 (The Voice)
Here in these verses, the writer is giving us a clue how much we should value relationship and reminding us to be grateful for those the Lord has placed in our lives.
We are in contact with other people almost every day. Even if you are a single person, living alone, you probably have some sort of contact with people at least once a day, or at least every few days. If you are married and have a family, you can’t seem to escape people!
The Lord has designed us to live in context of relationship. (I wrote about that HERE). It was never His design for us to do life alone. And most of us don’t. But as life and the years tick by, it’s easy to start taking, even the best relationships, for granted.
We forget how our lives are enhanced by the ones we love. We forget how we are served and how we are loved. So, sometimes it’s good to be reminded that relationships are such a gift, and that gift needs to be cherished.
Here in chapter 3 of Philippians, Paul is honoring and remembering who he knows – who God has placed in his life. Not just with his brain thoughts but with his spirit – he is making an emotional connection. And verse four shows us that that connection brings him joy!
As he thinks of who God has placed in his life, he begins to pray and thank God for those special peeps and then… Joy!
If you continue reading in Philippians 3, you find out that their connection happened when Paul came to them in ministry.
“because you have partnered with me to spread the gospel since the first day I preached to you.” ~Philippians 3:5 (The Voice)
All of our connections don’t necessarily come about because “we preached to you” but remembering our first connection with those in our lives can remind us why they are part of our lives today.
This is true for our spouse, who we maybe met several decades ago but it also works for cherishing those in more of a ‘working’ situation.
Example: I have a great relationship with our local coffee shop barista. I appreciate her and I cherish the fact that many months after meeting, she knows which couple drinks I’ll probably be choosing from. She knows my name. She knows my family. I appreciate how she serves me. Honestly, I thank God for her and she makes me happy!
So, how do we actually cherish our relationships?
- Remember. Don’t get so wrapped up in life that you forget who you are doing it with. If this is something you want to cultivate in your life, take some time to make a list of your relationships. Remember how you met, how that person impacted you, loved you and served you – and how they continue to do so.
- Pray for them. Put a reminder in your phone if you need to – especially for close family and friends. Pray throughout the week for those God has gifted to you.
- Experience joy and then let them in on it! Don’t keep your love and appreciation for people a secret. Send a text to a friend to let them know you are thinking of her and praying for her today. Tell your local banker how much you appreciate his friendly face when you go in.
As we make it a practice to be grateful and cherish the people in our lives, those relationships will strengthen and blossom even further, bringing even greater joy to our lives!