Today, I will tell you what is the most important thing in the world. I will tell you what defines you for the rest of the world. I will tell you on what basis God will judge you. I will tell you what will bring you the most happiness, the greatest joy, and what will give you the greatest comfort and the greatest strength to deal with all of life’s woes. What is it? What is that thing that Christ spent more time explaining and extolling than any other? It’s simple yet very, very complex, but you will know immediately that it is the most important thing in the world. What is it? Relationships. Your relationships with all others, with your blood relatives, with your friends, with your coworkers, with your Sunday School class members, with your Facebook friends, with strangers in need, with people whom you have never met but need your love and caring.
Christ defined all who would be welcomed into heaven (Matthew 25) by who had fed the hungry, clothed the naked, cared for the sick, and visited the prisoner. He defined the good by their relationships with others. He implored us to love each other as He loved us—that kind of relationship. We can have close, intimate relationships and very casual ones, but they are both relationships and important because of that. You have relationships with people you know and love, and you have relationships with students, teachers, other parents, people you know only through the internet, people you know because of who and what you are and what you do. You have relationships with bosses and with customers, with rich and with poor, with educated and with illiterate, with all ages and all body types, but in every case there is a relationship and Christ has told us that we will be judged on what shape and form those relationships take. It is hard to be kind to those who dislike you or are obnoxious, but those are the very ones who need your kindness the most.
I recently asked for some encouraging words on a Facebook post, and I got overwhelmed with the number of replies, but in every case—there was a relationship that could be traced to something I did, something I said, something I wrote, something I preached, something I taught, or something in which I believe. We are all like this. Others (and Christ) see us in terms of our relationships, so if you want to focus your attention on something that will affect your eternity—focus on your relationships. You will never regret spending time and energy on relationships, especially your relationship with Christ. We may not be what we eat, but we are how we behave toward others. This should be your primary focus. Trust me on this.