Relationships Above Achievements
By Linda and Richard Eyre
Note: Each week this column provides a short essay on one particular aspect or facet of the Lord’s personality and character. It is intended that the reader focus on this facet while partaking of the sacrament this Sunday. (Click here to read full introductory column.). Review previous columns by going to the What Manner of Man Archives.
The Savior knew well that relationships are eternal. He also knew that worldly achievements are temporary and, in themselves, superfluous, and that they often lead men to forget who they are in relationship to God.
As builder, associate designer, and owner of the world (and more importantly as our Elder Brother) Christ gave us the greatest eternal advice of all time: “Seek the things of the kingdom of heaven.” The kingdom of heaven consists of relationships – with God, with self, with family, with others.
He said it with words, but to really say it he lived it. In the entire scriptural record of his life there is no hint that he ever sought an “achievement” of the world (a thing), and there is no hint that He ever overlooked or passed by a relationship (a person).
If “achievements” are described as “things done for self,” Christ had none. The only achievements that he ever made were of the variety that helped others, that gave true joy.
He “achieved” the greatest speech ever given (Matthew 5).
He “achieved” the perfect, exemplary life.
He “achieved” the Atonement.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the Savior’s perfect earthly life was the constant correctness of His every decision – not only major decisions, not only basic right/wrong decisions, but the infinite number of small, multi-alternative little decisions. He always knew the best thing to say to this person at this minute. He always knew the most constructive way to spend the next five minutes.
One of the little decisions everyone has to make every day is the choice between a relationship and an achievement. (Should I talk to the friendly person next to me on the bus, or should I read my paper? Should I stop to help the little boy, or should I finish my project and let his mother take care of him?)
Christ always chose the relationship, the person. When He was going somewhere and someone asked for some time, He stopped. When He met a stranger, regardless of how busy He was, He got to know that person.
He lost himself, lost His personal desires, lost His achievements, lost his life for us, for His relationship with us, for our eternal relationship with Him and with our Father.
See you next week, when we will explore the Lord’s means of putting first things first.
2005 Meridian Magazine. All Rights Reserved.