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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What I'm Reading Today: Genesis 24-26

There are lots of ways individuals can be motivated to build or pursue relationships with individuals in our lives. When I first met my partner Mike, for instance, there were two things that first caught my eye: his physical appearance, and the fact that he was wearing a UNC sweatshirt (which I interpreted to mean that he was a big sports fan - much like myself). When I met Andrea, one of my closest friends for the past twenty-one years, I was drawn to her by her amazing sense of warmth and humor. And when I encountered Anne, one of my clergy colleagues here in the Valley whom I've grown closest to, I was drawn to her sense of passion for social justice and her love of parish ministry.

While each of the significant relationships in my life began under slightly different circumstances, in each instance I've found that the things that initially compelled me to spend time and energy with an individual are often the things that come to shape the ensuing relationship.

As I read the series of stories about Abraham and Isaac, I was particularly taken with the story of how Abraham's servant came to choose Rebekah as the one who would be Isaac's wife. The servant could have been superficial and chosen Rebekah based upon her physical appearance. The servant also could have shown himself to be shallow and chosen Rebekah because of her family or social status. Thankfully, the servant didn't use either of those yardsticks. He used something deeper than either of those things.

So what measuring stick did he use in making his choice?

The servant used the sorely underutilized standard of hospitality to discern which young woman was the right one for Isaac. This spirit of hospitality was shown through Rebekah's offer to care not only for the servant for the camels as well. What a wonderful yardstick to use when deciding whether or not to invest one's time and energy in a particular relationship.

So what about you? What quality or qualities do you look for when deciding whether or not to invest your time and energy in building a relationship with another person?

Til next time …

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