Now God was asking me how well I am stewarding the special relationships He has placed in my life. Could I name the current challenge each person on my list is struggling with?
Given the go-ahead, Dave launched a chronological description of his trip. As he described each interaction, I was stuck by how much of a “people person” he is. Rather than talk about the work he went to accomplish, Dave delightedly shared stories about all of the people with whom he had conversations or was able to help during his trip.
I enviously pondered how natural it is for Dave to have experiences like these. I am not an extrovert like he is. When someone takes their seat next to me on a plane, I smile and greet them but quickly pull out a book in hopes of avoiding a cross-continental conversation. Do not get me wrong. I like people, but I have an equal regard for my space and my to-do list. Plus, I hate the idea of anyone thinking I am a busybody! I figure God made me this way, and He doesn’t expect me to strike up a conversation with every person that crosses my path.
As I contentedly considered this, however, the Lord reminded me of my list. It is a list I created of all the people who are important to me. It begins with the names of my husband and kids, and includes family, dear friends, favorite colleagues and even people I don’t often see or interact with but still consider special. The list identifies “my people,” my circle of influence, the relationships I don’t ever want to lose. I had created the list just for fun with a do-good thought that maybe I would pray for them. I had since forgotten the list.
Now God was asking me how well I am stewarding the special relationships He has placed in my life. Could I name the current challenge each person on my list is struggling with? Did I know what milestones are coming up for each of them? Where are they spiritually, and do I even care? How often do I reach out to them? or do I assume they will always be “a text away” at a more convenient time”? His questions made me think.
I believe the Bible story of Mary and Martha has two messages. The obvious and primary one is that we are to sit daily at the feet of Jesus. The secondary lesson from that story, however, is that we are also to “sit” regularly with the people God has placed in our life. We are to take time to listen to them, encourage them, grieve and celebrate with them. Equally important to being good stewards of our time, talent and treasure, is being a great steward of our relationships. God has curated a special group of people for each one of us and has designed a lifetime of ways we can bless them.
Tari Popp is the director of Planned Giving & Trust Services at Andrews University. She and her husband live in Berrien Springs.