A Parable of Relationships

I admit it, I’m kind of a reality TV junkie. I don’t watch every reality show, just the ones that take real talent and innovation to win. Two of my favorites are Top Chef and Project Runway.

As I watched the finale of Top Chef: Just Desserts a couple weeks ago, I was rooting for Morgan. Morgan was, by far, the most talented chef on the show. Throughout the season, he churned out dessert after dessert that was beautiful and made with unexpected ingredients that delighted the judges. He was a machine.

For the finale, each of the finalists were paired with incredibly talented pastry chefs to work on their final meal. These celebrity chefs acted as sous chefs to the finalists, doing prep work and helping the finalists to achieve their visions. Morgan managed to completely alienate his sous chef to the point that as she sat down to eat his meal the next day, she described her feelings towards him as “Morgan Rage.”

See, Morgan was not only incredibly talented, he was also a jerk. He managed to offend many people on the show. All season I thought, “Morgan, you’re an idiot. You might be the best, but if no one wants to work with you, it’s all for naught.” Ultimately, Morgan didn’t win. I can’t help but wonder if his damaged relationships played at least some part in his losing.

If Morgan’s relational issues affected his ability to cook, how much more do relational issues affect those of us in ministry? How do they affect (perhaps reveal?) our relationship to God?

Look at Matthew 5:23-24 “So then, if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother and then come and present your gift.”

  • The priority is fixing the broken relationship.

What about 1 Peter 3:7 “Husbands, in the same way, treat your wives with consideration as the weaker partners and show them honor as fellow heirs of the grace of life. In this way nothing will hinder your prayers.”

  • Think about what Peter is saying, our prayers are hindered by broken relationships!

The other side of the coin is that our love reveals that we are Christ followers. The Fruit of the Spirit profoundly affects our relationships. Christ’s work in us is revealed in radically different relationships.

Ministry isn’t what I do on stage in front of people. It’s not the sum of my skills. It’s not enough to be talented and charismatic. Those things can actually get in the way of doing real ministry when they lead to a sense of entitlement and grandeur.

Ministry is who I am at the deepest level being used by God for his glory.

Real ministry, the kind with profound and lasting effects, happens on a relational level. Who I really am is revealed in relationships.

 

Ask God, “What are my relationships revealing about your work in my life?”

Thinking about the previous answer, ask yourself, “Is this the testimony I want to give to others?”

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