If someone spent the whole day with me, how would he feel at the end of the day—worn out or built up? That’s the kind of question I began to think about as I listened to Clark Hutchinson talk about relationships. He said he has noticed three kinds: draining, neutral, and replenishing.
Hutchinson pointed out that Jesus experienced all three kinds of relationships. Those that exhausted His energy were perhaps the most common in our Lord’s earthly experience, for He spent much of His time giving. He healed the sick, encouraged the downtrodden, and taught the masses. We know that sometimes He must have been worn out by these experiences. He often went away to pray and renew Himself (Matt. 14:23; Luke 5:16).
Some of His relationships were probably just casual contacts. But the replenishing ones encouraged Jesus. They were relationships with people such as Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, whose love and presence uplifted the Lord.
How do we relate to our friends, acquaintances, and family members? We can add to their lives a measure of happiness by giving them a chance to talk, encouraging them, and suggesting life’s brighter side.
Do we leave people drained or replenished?
A smile, a word, a touch—
And each is easily given,
To rescue someone from despair
Or smooth the way to heaven. —Anon.
To get the most out of a relationship, put all you can into it.