Bible Society of South Africa
3 April 2024Xanthe Hancox

Focus your faith on Him – Day 2

Be thankful for relationships

Bible text(s)

6If we suffer, it is for your help and salvation; if we are helped, then you too are helped and given the strength to endure with patience the same sufferings that we also endure. 7So our hope in you is never shaken; we know that just as you share in our sufferings, you also share in the help we receive.

2 Corinthians 1:6-7GNBOpen in Bible reader

Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth begins with his sincere thanks for the deep relationship he has with the Corinthians. They are so closely knit together that whatever happens to one, happens to all. This is surprising because, if you read further, you’ll discover that the relationship is an immensely strained one. You might find yourself wondering how people with huge disagreements, disappointments and even anger at each other could say things such as, “Our hope for you is firm” (2 Corinthians 1:7).

The answer is that good relationships do not arise from mutual agreement, but mutual respect in the pursuit of a common goal. We generally do not choose our co-workers or the people we serve on various committees with, or even the people in our church – much like the Corinthians did not choose Paul to be their apostle and Paul did not choose those God would lead to faith. A lot of our relationships are not based on how well we like one another, but on the need to work together to accomplish our common tasks.

The more difficult things are, the more important good relationships become.

Paul makes it clear that we cannot achieve good relationships through skills and methods alone. What we need above all is God’s help. For this reason, praying for each other is the cornerstone of good relationships. “Join in helping us by prayers,” Paul asks.

How deeply do we invest in relationships with the people we work among? Do we care enough about them to pray for them? Do we bother to learn enough about their lives, so that we can pray for them in concrete ways? Do we open our own lives enough, so that others can pray for us?

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