1 Corinthians 14:1a Follow the way of love…
This morning I woke up thinking about one of the more important and useful concepts that I became aware of in Grad School. God has used it ever since to give me insight and help me in my daily life. It involves tasks and relationships – two things that fill our lives. Each day is filled with tasks to do and many of them involve working or interacting with people.
In a class, we grad students took a test that measured our personal orientations to tasks and to relationships. When the scores were graphed we each discovered a picture of how we functioned in such situations. At one end of the spectrum were those whose preeminent concern was the task. Whether big or small, it had to get done. If it meant sacrificing relationships, so be it. Relationships were irrelevant to getting the job done.
At the other end of the spectrum were those who placed preeminence upon relationships. No task was so important that it would warrant sacrificing relationships. When these individuals are confronted with situations where they have to choose between a task and a relationship(s), the task won’t get done. They don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or create an unpleasant situation for themselves or anyone else. They back away from tasks where they perceive a risk to relationship might exist.
Then there was everyone in between where they reflected a mix of task or relationship priorities. The goal was to be in the middle where both tasks and relationships are important. Such individuals find ways to get tasks done while preserving and strengthening relationships. They don’t sacrifice the task for a relationship and they don’t sacrifice a relationship for the task. Both are important and vital.
This seems to be the way of love that we are called to walk in. God’s Word and the leading of His Spirit enable us to find the balance that preserves relationships while getting tasks done. Sometimes they might be painful even when done wisely in love, but the way of love produces righteous fruit – both in us and in others. Think of the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
In all situations we want to glorify the Lord. We want our lives to accomplish His purposes and reflect His life within us. The way of love enables us to do that day by day and His Word tells us how to do just that. It’s up to us to embrace it. The way of love enables us to transform situations that seem to be ‘Lose-Lose’ or ‘Win-Lose’ into Win-Win’. Tasks get done and relationships are strengthened.