Last Friday, Bev and I marked 27 years together.

A while ago, I was talking to a guy (much) younger than myself, who believes that marriage is passé.   After he could not tell me what passé meant, I asked him what kind of a commitment was he willing to make?  He told me: “As long as my needs are being met.”

“CONGRATULATIONS!”  I told him: “that single answer guarantees you will fail every relationship you try!”  He glared at me without saying a word, so I continued.  “Relationships are not about what you get out of it, but rather what you put into it.”

“So,” he asked, “you get nothing out of your marriage?”

“Oh absolutely, I do, but that is not my goal.  To be sure, I can be a selfish jerk – a lot.  My goal is to be the guy that Bev needs me to be, it is something I work at (when I’m not being a selfish jerk).”  I told him that relationship based on selfishness is no relationship at all, it’s parasitic at the core.  No relationship will work if it is based on what you get out of it.  I pointed out that Bev and I have been married for longer than he has been alive and asked what was the longest “relationship” he has ever had.  He didn’t get it.

Look at the relationship between Jesus and us.  What exactly did we do to deserve what He did?  He died for us long before any of us even existed!  As if that was not enough, He keeps on giving to us, blessing, encouragement, joy, confidence.  The list goes on and on.

For our part, we must commit to Him, and give Him the best we have.  We talked last week about the idea that we BELONG to Him, we become willing slaves to keep the relationship going.  Trust me, we get the better end of the deal (just like my marriage!).  Part of our relationship with Jesus is loving who He loves.  Bev married into a (weird) family.  I had three girls and the best boxer in the world (oh sure, the girls were pretty cool too).  She committed to love them along with me.  We sign up for the same deal with Jesus.

When we commit to Him, we commit to them.  The first expression of this is through the local church, but it keeps expanding further and further out.  I can be exhausting, but only when we are being selfish jerks.