Recently I woke up with a swollen thumb. I have no clue how it happened (did I whack the poor hubby in my sleep??), but it had swollen to a size of a gooseberry and was painful and so stiff that I couldn’t bend the thumb or use my right arm very well. It was terribly inconvenient (because of all the plans I had for that day) and so painful that I half-wondered if cutting if off would help me function better! Better sense prevailed, and my thumb is still attached to my body (for now!). Had I indeed cut my thumb off, I’m sure you’d agree that it would have been an incredibly stupid thing to do. It would have been almost petty, if just for the sake of inconvenience, I had cut off something that was a part of me.
My knee-jerk reaction maybe a reflection of the culture we live in. if there’s anything our culture is committed to, it is consumerism. We’re in it for as long as it satisfies, entertains, and is useful for us. The moment something or someone becomes an inconvenience, it’s goodbye. Why invest when there are so many other choices? Free will and freedom of choice takes precedence over commitment. So, it’s no wonder that people cringe at the mention of the word ‘covenant’ and shy away from any agreement that does not wholly benefit them.
What is a covenant? Simply put, it’s a promise. But not your average, as-long-as-it-suits me type of pledge that is so rampant nowadays. It’s a pledge that promises to do whatever it takes even when there is no personal benefit. It’s the kind of promise God made to us even though He knew that it would cost Him everything.
Philippians 2: 5-8 says, ‘In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!’
Wow! He gave up the splendor and majesty of Heaven and traded it in for servanthood and a humiliating death on the cross. All for what? The fickle love of human beings who constantly blame Him for everything that goes wrong in their lives. No fair trade and nothing mutually beneficial there. He knew it would cost Him everything and yet He did it. That’s what a covenant is, a promise to do whatever it takes even when there’s nothing in it for you.
Why is it so important to form covenantal relationships? What’s in it for you (that’s what it boils down to, right!)? Well for one thing, it’s what God commands us to do and that really should be reason enough! Secondly, we fulfill God’s will for our lives by being faithful to the relationships that he has placed in our lives. A divinely-ordained relationship could be your spouse, a friend, or the church God wants you to be a part of. When we’re faithful to the relationships God has placed us in, we fulfill God’s will for us.
Thirdly, it takes the pressure off you and everyone else. You don’t have to be perfect and you’re allowed a bad day (or two). Just like I shouldn’t give up on my thumb only because it’s having a bad day and not functioning the way it’s supposed to, a covenantal relationship means I don’t give up on someone just because they’re not behaving the way they should (or the way I think they should!). It means I fulfill my part of the bargain even when they do not. What would your life look like if there was someone in your life who would love you and believe in you no matter what? Wouldn’t it free you to be just you? Hopefully that kind of love will also push you to be the best version of you too.
At Skyline, we believe in forming covenantal relationships. We do this because we want the relationships we form to go beyond the superficial. We want Skyline to be so much more than just a social club. We want this to be a safe place. A place where you can be yourself without worrying about what others will think about you. A place where your deepest darkest worries, fears, and secrets will not be met with ridicule or judgement, but instead with compassion, love and whatever else it may take to see you through your dark days. A place where you will get more than one second chance.
For Skyline to be this safe place, we need to go above and beyond being consumer Christians. We must be brave enough to form relationships that don’t take into account convenience and profit. Will it be worth it? Sometimes it will and sometimes it will end in heartbreak and disappointment. But the important thing is that we are all part of the body of Christ and He has called us to be in covenantal relationships with Him and with each other. One simply does not let go of a body part without good reason. Cutting off is not the optimum solution, especially when some ice and pain medication could probably do the trick (I may or may not be talking about my thumb here!).
Betsy Sony is a stay-at-home mom who has the full-time job of looking after 4 beautiful girls. She came to the United States from India along with her husband Sony about 4 years ago and loves all things Skyline, reading, being outdoors, and experiencing new cultures and cuisines.