Being a good steward doesn’t always refer to finances. It means caring well for anything that has been entrusted to you. The most valuable gifts we have are things money can’t buy. And often they are things we shouldn’t try to hold onto or keep to ourselves, as precious as they are. Relationships are a gift that should take top priority in our lives because they are connected to everything else.
1 John 4:19 "We love because he loved us first."
Today, a wise friend of mine, Amber Hewitt-Wolfe, gave me some excellent relationship advice: Love everyone in your life with intention.
God has taken Amber and her husband Troy on a journey with cancer. And along the way, they are finding treasures. Loving with intention is one of them.
So how do you love with intention and be a good steward of the people God entrusted to you? And how does Food for His Children teach others to do that?
Here are a few ways I see Amber doing it:
SPEND TIME WITH THEM!
Be thankful for the beauty in each day
Thank your family and friends for being part of your life and do it often
Be grateful for every moment you have with them
Tell everyone what you love about those who are entrusted to you (your children, your spouse, your parents)
Look deep within their soul and see them for who they really are, not just what is on the surface
Appreciate their gifts and talents
Love them with your whole heart
Look them in the eyes and tell them how you feel about them
Love as though your life depends on it. Because it does.
And sometimes one of the hardest things to do:
Forgive them and extend grace
Colossians 3:13 "Bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also forgive others."
Questions to ask yourself for about the relationships in your life:
What do you want the relationship to look like?
What does it look like now?
What needs to happen to reach your goal?
What is one thing you could do today to work towards your goal?
Food for His Children believes the root of all poverty, material or otherwise, is from the breakdown of one of these core relationships: your relationship between God, with yourself, with others or with the rest of creation. When you restore these broken relationships, you can begin to eliminate material, social, emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual poverty.
Food for His Children (FFHC) Field Officers, or Case Managers, develop relationships with FFHC families. It’s one of the first steps in the FFHC process. Before we can start helping a family to identify their strengths and the goals they want to work towards, we need to earn their trust and show them that we truly care about them and those they hold dear. We assess how they are doing personally and assess how they are doing in their relationships with God, themselves, others and the world around them. When they identify the places that are broken, FFHC staff offer to help them address the issue and restoration begins.
Emmanuel is a new FFHC program beneficiary and he’s excelling in the area of relationships with others. He recently met with his Field Officer and had a message for all of us.
“My name is Emmanuel Leonard. I am a farmer, but more importantly, I am a daddy with five kids. I love my family! The first thing that crosses my mind each day is my kids. The thing that makes me most want to spend time with my kids is knowing that I am responsible for them. It is so unfair to bring a human being into this world and not be accountable for their daily lives. Parenting and parenthood are such a big honor.
Our job as parents is to invest time and money on our kids to see what the outcome is. You know, kids don’t want only toys and sweets. In everything I do, my focus is on my children, bound by love. I feel like I get paid back for everything I do each time my kids call me Dad. When I hear it, I feel I have been qualified as a parent.
I challenge all parents, especially African fathers, to show up for your children because when you are there for them, you see what needs to be done and understand your role. Once you really see your child, you put yourself second. Just watch what happens when you show up for your kids.”
Amber and Emmanuel come from vastly different places, but they both know how to love well. Using their advice and wisdom, what one small thing can you do today to move towards making a positive change in one or more of the relationships that are most dear to you?