Encouragement 2-12-04

February 12, 2004
Encouragement for Today


Love the One You’re With

Renee Swope, Speaker Team Director - Proverbs 31 Ministries Speaker and Author


Key Verse:


Mark 3:14, “He appointed twelve…that they might be with him…”





I had just met with Lisa, a young mom and friend I had been mentoring for several months. I drove away from the restaurant feeling like our time together wasn’t “productive.” We hadn’t really talked about God much, and I didn’t remember sharing any verses to encourage her. Our boys had played on the slides and climbed through the tubes for at least 2 hours. But Lisa and I had just talked. We had talked about marriage. She had talked about selling their home.  Nothing significant. Or so it seemed.


Just talking didn’t seem like a good way to mentor someone. I felt like a failure. “I wonder if she’s disappointed in the lack of spiritual depth I brought to our conversation today.” I thought to myself as I pulled out of the parking lot.


That’s when God grabbed the measuring stick out of my hand, whacked me on the head and said, “Renee, this is a relationship. It is about being together.” Okay, He didn’t actually hit me on the head, but He did get me in the heart. It wasn’t the first time. As I had been reading through the gospels for several weeks, stories of how much time Jesus spent with people kept jumping off the pages. For what seemed like the first time, I noticed how very important relationships were to Him. He wasn’t nearly as task oriented as I am! In fact His highest priority was to be with people. Mark 3:14 tells us that “He appointed twelve…that they might be with him and that he might send them.” Notice what came first - “that they might be with him.”


People loved being with Jesus, too. The woman at the well enjoyed Him so much that she went home to tell everyone about Him and “many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony.” But knowing about Him wasn’t enough. They wanted to know Him, so “they urged Him to stay with them which he did for two days. Because of His words many more became believers. They said to the woman, ‘We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves and we know this man really is the Savior of the world.’” (John 4:39-42)


No longer did they only know about Him; now they knew Him. It was because He had been with them.


Jesus’ relationships were the most important aspect of His life. He invested time in people every day! He slowed down to share His heart and listen to their questions, knowing that relationship would give insight to who they were and their heart longings. He didn’t see people’s requests for His attention as interruptions but welcomed them as invitations. Jesus knew spending time with people would not only allow Him to know their heart, it would give them the chance to know His heart as well.


Just like Jesus, the time we spend with people can make an eternal difference. Being with a person allows them to look into the window of our hearts and see what really matters to us. Spending time together lets us get to know their heart as well. If we slow down to listen, we can hear the questions that lie beneath the surface of what they are saying.


Just talking that day was exactly what God had planned for Lisa and me. And as the Lord corrected the error in my thinking, He also showed me how I struggle with this in other important relationships. He challenged me to slow down and spend more time being with my husband and my children. Those are the most important people in my life, yet I allow my time with them to get crowded out by my need to “do” things.


What about you? How often are you just with the ones you love…no agendas, no errands, no planning…just being together? How often do you laugh together, watch movies together or go out for ice cream, together? Do they know your heart? How well do you know theirs?



My prayer for today:


Lord, please help me to see relationships as the most important investments of my life.  Like Jesus, show me how I can make time deposits that will last for eternity! Help me to slow down to spend time with the ones I love. Help me to make the adjustments needed in my plans and in my perspective!  Amen.



Application steps:


Take time this month to plan special time with your children, your spouse and even your best friend. Schedule these times on your personal calendar and stick to them.  Make the most of unexpected opportunities to be with the ones you love. Look at these interruptions as divine invitations to make relationship investments.



Reflection points:


Look back over the last week of life.  How many times have you brushed aside opportunities to spend time with your spouse and/or children?


Knowing that we spend time on the things we deem most important, what would someone examining our daily schedule see as the most important aspects of my life?


What first step do I need to take in order to wisely invest my time?


Why do I live as if a busy life is absolutely a productive life?


What changes do I need to make in my life perspective?



Power verses:


Jeremiah 1:5  Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.  Before you were born I set you apart!


Ephesians 2:10  God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing.


Psalm 139: 16  You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!


Ephesians 5:15-16 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time


Psalm 90:12 Teach us how short our lives really are so that we may be wise.



Additional Resources:


The P31 Woman Magazine



Capture His Heart by Lysa TerKeurst



Originally published Thursday, 12 February 2004.