relational currencylately there have been several things that have been swirling around in my head & conversations i’ve had…

being a sports fan & originally being from indiana i’ve been watching the nba playoffs & in particular the pacers.  my, how they’ve fallen.  back in february they made a trade of players in an attempt to shore up their line-up & make a run at a championship.  in short, it’s not working & they’re in jeopardy of getting bounced from the playoffs.

in other conversations with teachers & parents the gist of the discussion has been surrounding the struggle of budgets & programming offered at public schools along the lines of, “we can’t afford to do what we once did.  oh, and we can’t pay for the labor force to teach what we once did.”  this issue has far reaching implications beyond what i can discuss here & beyond what we even currently know.

a lot of times when we’re confronted with a problem or a difficult situation we’re tempted to “out-think the room.”  believing that the solution to this problem must be complicated; at least as complicated as the problem itself.  i believe that at the root of the issues we face begins with something relatively simple, and it almost always begins with the same thing.  true, when things bloom & become this complex hairball of difficulty the problems then are complex; & fixing them takes time.  but i’m going to assert that the root issue is just one thing…relationship with people.  here, we’ll call it relational currency.

with the pacers the problems with how they’ve slide seem to be many & getting out of the hole they’ve dug is going to take time.  but i believe that it all began with a particular player being traded away; danny granger.  he seemed to be the glue of the locker room that’s now gone.  he was the guy that could remind everyone what they were supposed to be doing.  true, he didn’t get a lot of playing time, but he was greatly respected by the players & he was a voice of maturity for that team.

this basic premise of relational currency plays out with schools as well.  there has been a recent move in michigan with an animosity toward teachers in the name of dollars & cents.  so many things are veiled in “we can’t afford to…”  and those that primarily suffer are the students & their teachers.  i’ve been saying for a couple of years now that there will be a day, probably when my kids have kids, that we’ll all look back at this time in history and wonder aloud, “what were we thinking, treating kids & schools & teachers that way?!”

when people aren’t valued & relationships aren’t seen as the primary asset of an organization weather that be a school, a team, a church or any number of other places to be a part of, to work & make a living; when people aren’t valued, the system is about to crumble.

relational currency also shows up in the life of Jesus.  when Jesus gives “the sermon on the mount” [mt.5, 6 & 7] He’s talking about how there are 2 kingdoms that overlap right now.

one kingdom tells us that we’d better look out for us.  that if we don’t meet our needs, then no one is going to meet our needs.  that life is about you & you need to grab all you can before it’s all over.

the other kingdom tells us that people matter; people other than us matter.  that God has something in mind for us, and that we find that “something” when we give our lives to others.

so ask yourself some questions today:

am i living in such a way that truly values other people?  not valuing them in terms of what they can do for me.  not in terms of how they benefit my life & make me great.  but do i value them as sons & daughters of God?

am i pouring my life into the lives of those around me?  or am i content to take care of me & my needs while ignoring those around me?

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