Relationships are likely the most rewarding and challenging parts of our lives. I personally believe that God has seeded the most important things in life into relationships and getting the “goods” from God requires our investment in and stewarding of them. I know this thought runs contrary to our self-absorbed culture and the “me-first” mentality, but if someone told me they hid $1million inside of a parked car, it might be wise of me to become an expert in parked cars.
An analogy I often use to describe the premise underlying how relationships really work is that of a bank account. There are two basic transactions that affect the quality of a bank account: deposits and withdrawals. Our actions, words, and attitudes become a currency that can either be deposited into or withdrawn from our relationships.
The most important qualifier of the bank account analogy, however, is that the bank account is always jointly owned. In a marriage, there are not two relationships, only one relationship shared by two committed people. The same is true for every type of relationship, whether personal or as part of a collective like a church. This helps us experience the dynamic God had in mind – that we are in this together and not on our own looking to leverage this thing called “relationship” in a selfish way solely for our own benefit.
The moral of this story is that relationships really do require both giving and taking from all parties qualified as being part owners in that relationship. All owners of the relational bank account are responsible to both make deposits and withdrawals guided by the mutual motivation of sharing the “goods” God has intended for each party to enjoy.