God created a lovely world that was flourishing, alive, and good in every regard. But then, for the first time, something in this world was described as “not good.”
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18, NIV).
What was “not good” in the world? Man was created with intrinsic value since he was made in the image of God. Adam was good. But it was “not good” for him to be alone. He was created for relationship with others. We often see this principle as the foundation of marriage since God created a woman to meet this need. But it also points to something much deeper in God’s design, our need for relationships. God was so intent on making sure that we recognize this ingredient for a flourishing world that He allowed a glimpse of what was not good, a person alone! Serving leaders reflect on God’s plan for honoring relationships as a part of His flourishing world.
Honoring relationships accelerates flourishing by acknowledging the intent.
God’s intent was for relationships with others to be a defining characteristic of being human. The first man and first woman were brought into relationship with each other as well as into relationship with God. He designed us to live, work, and walk together with others. Even the most introverted person needs others! It’s not a surprise that solitary confinement is considered one of the most severe punishments or even torture. We are not created to be alone! God’s intent was for each of us to find meaning, value, and purpose in relationship to others. In our families of origin, He designed relationships in which we form identity, a sense of belonging, and value. As we relate to others, we are able to build capacity for deep, authentic relationships that bring joy and meaning to what we do.
Honoring relationships accelerates flourishing by anticipating the impact.
Sin brought so much pain and brokenness to relationships that many have concluded that it may be better to be alone. And some cultures value independence over interdependence. But serving leaders recognize that honoring relationships is a part of God’s design. They see their business, church, family, and community as places that God intends for people to thrive with strong, healthy relationships. They envision a world in which strong teams work together in harmony to accomplish great things.
Honoring relationships accelerates flourishing by accepting the implications.
Serving leaders acknowledge that there are many leadership implications to honoring relationships. First, they seek to enter into and maintain strong healthy personal relationships. They seek out authentic friendships and resist the temptation to isolate themselves from others. Then, they seek to lead those they serve into healthy relationships. They build teams and lead them through the process of discovering how to balance honesty and kindness. They look for the person isolated outside the circle and seek to pull them in. They encourage the quiet people to speak out and find their voice. Serving leaders acknowledge that accomplishment of the vision will only happen when relationships are honored. So, they encourage time not just to accomplish tasks but also to build relationships. Serving leaders look for results, but they don’t overlook relationships. They create environments in which people flourish together in strong, healthy relationships.
Serving leaders create a flourishing world around them by honoring relationships.
For further reflection and discussion:
How has the intent of honoring relationships been distorted in your context? Reflect specifically about the thinking in this area in your culture, your family, and in the organization where you lead. What impact has this thinking had on you as a leader? In what ways do you need to adjust your thinking to align with God’s intent?
Reflect on what the impact would be if everyone in your organization would fully grasp and live out what it means to honor relationships. What is the current level of health in relationships on your team? Write at least three reflections.
What action steps will you take as a leader to honor relationships in your home, organization, or community? Choose which of these areas you will focus on and then list 2 or 3 specific steps you will take and dates for when you will take the actions.
Until next time, yours on the journey,
Jon Byler In the next issue, we’ll examine another ingredient of a flourishing world: Growth is Expected