I only have one brother, we are both adopted children from two different families. Although we are not blood-related, we have always been close. As life happens, we have each chosen our own path and lead different lives.

These days, my brother is retired and he and his wife spend their days looking after and doting on their grandchildren. Truly the highlight of their lives right now. I, on the other hand, am still working and have a variety of interests and a wide array of friendships that keep me occupied.

We live some 5 hours apart and simply don’t get together very often anymore. Our contact has dwindled some to phone calls on birthdays and holidays. We do have the infrequent times we get together in person if he and his wife come up this way for some recreational opportunity, or if I travel near to where they live for some business purpose.

The other day I thought about my brother quite a lot, his birthday is coming up and I knew I’d call him then. But my thoughts were I should reach out to him more, and guess what? That day, he called me! Out of the blue, the phone rang and it was him. What a delightful surprise. We had a nice chat and caught up on all the goings on in each other’s lives.

As we concluded the call, I just kept thinking I needed to be more intentional in maintaining our relationship. It’s easy to get caught up in all that we have going on in our own little circles, we tend to neglect those who we are not immediately connected to. That really is a shame. We are creatures who were created for relationships. In Genesis 2:18 God even remarks on how it’s not good for a person to be alone, without a support system, without someone to share and love.

The relationships we have are precious things to be nurtured and tended to. In Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 we read, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
Our relationships are what strengthen and sustain us, we should be mindful of all they add to our lives.

You’ll remember the story of Job, how he lost everything, and how his so-called friends and family wanted him to curse God and die. I’m sure Job was about ready to curse his friends and family and wish they would die. Instead, we’re told, even though Job and his friends and family were looking at life and approaching life from different viewpoints, Job continued to be faithful. In Job 42:10 we read, “When Job prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes, giving him twice as much as before!” There’s a lesson in there for us, I’m sure of it. Even though we lead different lives from friends and family, we should stay connected and place great value on the relationship. It is in our relationships, we may very well encounter the true presence of God’s love and affection for us.

I don’t know if my brother is much for getting on FaceBook and reading some of the posts, but if he happens across this one, I hope he knows how much he means to me. May God’s love be poured into all of our relationships, near and far. May we hold in the highest esteem those who choose to love us and support us, for in this way we are experiencing God’s presence in a very real sense.

Your fellow traveler on the Way,
Pastor Tom

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