Do you feel like your relationships are similar to what a street musician experiences with a passing crowd along a city sidewalk? You know, the musician stands on a crowded street and plays his heart out with hopes that people stop to appreciate the music. And to go along with the appreciation, he hopes for coinage, silver and green in color, to fill his instrument case. And it seems, once he receives some tangible form of appreciation, in the form of applause and/or the sound of silver coins landing by his feet, he gives it a little extra for a few minutes. You know, a business transaction with a thank you. But then, he goes home and the crowd moves up the street. All that is left is a few dollars in his pocket and some vague images of the crowd. Likewise, the crowd remembers the sounds of a good musician but doesn’t know anything about him, not even his name. It was entertaining while it lasted but the problem is nothing else lasted.
Over time, when our primary interchange with people is transactional, life feels cold, even dreary, and indifference overtakes our heart. Our interaction with humanoids becomes so robotic that as soon as our head lifts from the pillow and the feet hit the floor, the monotony commences. And, to be warned, no one is immune from playing a leading role. You might say, our so-called transactions have no limit to the cliché laced descriptions. Here, for instance, are just a few. If you help me, I'll help you. If you do something that benefits me, I'll do something good for you. If you point some people my way for business, I'll do the same for you.
Of course, transactions are unavoidable. In fact, building networks of people who exist primarily to fuel transactions is often necessary for survival in the business world. However, when you’re inundated with human interaction day after day that is more transactional than relational, you might take notice that your emotions become raw similar to the way your skin would feel if you stand in the street for hours on a cold rainy day. Okay, let’s be honest. Wouldn’t it be nice if just one person would smile and say hello? Is it too much to ask that someone care enough to ask a meaningful and kind question? What about the forethought to share a complimentary observation? Because, when that person shows up, who is relational rather than transactional, it suddenly feels like a nice summer day with a sunny sky and a warm and refreshing breeze.
With all of that said, even the church can be a bit stale. God forbid that it feel transactional. So determine in your mind to be the church, a fellowship of Christ followers (Acts 2:42-47). In other words, a bona fide family. As such, our people-to-people interaction is just that—relational. Moreover, these relationships are based on unconditional love (1 Cor 13:1-8). In fact, the Bible exhorts us to “encourage and build each other up” (1 Thes 5:11). We are even directed to “consider others more important than ourselves” (Php 2:3). Actually, there are recognizable faces in this crowd. Beyond that, the faces have names and going even further, there is a shared history. That’s right. A history of interwoven experiences filled with touches of grace and compassion that lasts forever. Oh, I’m so thankful that our relationships are beyond transactional. What about you?
A Work in Progress,