Relationships: The Meaning and Fulfillment of Life

Normally, I would have been excited to go home. But that day, it was different. I did not want to leave my office at Philippine Publishing House. Since my wife went to visit her parents in Puerto Princesa for a vacation with our two toddler boys, coming home was like entering a dark, eerie cave. It was our first time to be separated after getting married. It was my first stark encounter with life sans my loved ones around.

At one time, my teenage daughter who still had to have a boyfriend, called me from Texas and jokingly said she needed some “inspiration” to get through this especially difficult week in college. Beyond her banter, I could sense her new discovery that life without significant relationships is quite empty and meaningless.

In the beginning, God created man a relational being. He created him with three levels of relationships. The first level is man’s relationship with Himself. This human relatedness to God is the deep and profound meaning of God resting on the seventh day of Creation Week. Like human parents at the birth of their child, God took a day off to spend quality time with His “children”. It is in that context that God likes man to call the seventh-day Sabbath a “delight”. “If you keep the Sabbath with care, not doing your business on my holy day; and if the Sabbath seems to you a delight, . . . Then the Lord will be your delight; and I will put you on the high places of the earth; . . . for the mouth of the Lord has said it.” Isaiah 58:13.1 In entering God’s rest on the Sabbath day, we make communion with Him and learn of His great love and care for us.

In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John we see the incarnate God eagerly relating with men: healing the sick, feeding the hungry, helping the poor, teaching the ignorant, and preaching to them that “the Kingdom of God is here.” And this God-Man Himself said this about the value of man in His eyes: “Are not five sparrows given in exchange for two farthings? And God has every one of them in mind. But even the hairs of your head are numbered. Have no fear: you are of more value than a flock of sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7.

Today, God invites every 21st century man, woman and child to enter His rest – from fear, anxiety and hopelessness: “Come to me, all you who are troubled and weighted down with care, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and become like me, for I am gentle and without pride, and you will have rest for your souls; For my yoke is good, and the weight I take up is not hard.” Matthew 11:29-30.

In worship of the Creator, in obedience to His commands, and in loving service to his fellow human beings, man shows his allegiance and relatedness to God.

In creating Adam, God knew that he would have this void if he did not feel a connectedness to another human being. So, He created Eve.

“And the Lord God said, It is not good for the man to be by himself: I will make one like himself as a help to him. . . . And the Lord God sent a deep sleep on the man, and took one of the bones from his side while he was sleeping, joining up the flesh again in its place: And the bone which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman, and took her to the man.

“And the man said, This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh: let her name be Woman because she was taken out of Man.

“For this cause will a man go away from his father and his mother and be joined to his wife; and they will be one flesh.” Genesis 2: 18-25.

Adam alone was “not good”. On the other hand, Adam becoming “one” with Eve was “very good”. Moreover, Adam (male) and Eve (female) reflected God’s image in humanity.

“And God made man in his image, in the image of God he made him: male and female he made them.” Genesis 1:27.

The third level of human relatedness that God established was man in relationship to plants and animals, His lower creatures. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, like us: and let him have rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every living thing which goes flat on the earth. . . . And God gave them his blessing and said to them . . . be rulers over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing moving on the earth.” Genesis 1:26-28.

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