The Shovel and the Spoon
- What is one thing you learned about relationships from your family growing up?
- How has this positively/negatively impacted your relationships as an adult?
From the time we are born, relationships are constantly shaping who we are and how we engage with the world around us. Beginning with how we see ourselves, we develop a view of God and others that impacts family, friendships, work relationships, dating relationships and marriage.
All of us desire more meaningful relationships, but where do we start? How can we become more relatable?
A great place to start is the realization that there is a very real connection between our relationship with God, our relationships with others, and our relationship with ourselves. If one of these relationships is out of order, it will skew the other two as well. They are all connected in a dynamic interdependence, fueled by God’s radical love for his people, demonstrated by his grace and mercy.
In Psalm 103 David writes of God’s interaction with his people. Read this passage a few times and it quickly becomes evident that God dispenses grace and mercy with a shovel, not a spoon!
He isn't stingy when it comes to his relationship with his children. He doesn't measure out grace and mercy in small increments to make sure there is some left in reserve. He does not give us what we deserve and he meets us more than halfway. He is merciful when we are wrong, he is gracious when we are stubborn, and he loved us before we were able to love him.
But here’s the problem- we have a hard time reflecting this lavish love onto others. The #1 flaw we experience in relationships is that we expect more of other people than they can realistically provide. On top of that, what we expect from them is certainly not what we want from God- we want him to give us way more grace than we give to others.
- Where have you seen this occur in your life? Have you ever been guilty of this with family, friends, or coworkers?
The following statement will be the catalyst for the rest of this series:
The degree to which we receive the grace and mercy God has given to us determines the degree to which we are going to have meaningful and fulfilling relationships
The next several weeks involve looking at relationships the way God intended them to be. Because he has gone to extraordinary lengths to relate to us, we have the potential to build incredible relationships with one another and even restore broken relationships that seem impossible to repair. Embracing God’s love and receiving his grace is the first step in changing the way we relate to him, our family, our friends, and ourselves.
Are you able to relate?
- Think about the three primary relationships we all experience- with God, with ourselves, and with others. If God could grow you in one of these relationships, which one would it be? How would you want to grow? How can this group help?
If you or your group wish to further explore this week’s topic:
Read Psalm 103
- List the different ways the psalmist describes what God has done for his people.
- Read the passage as a prayer of remembrance- try to do this daily for a week. How can this affected your view of God? Your view of yourself?
Read Matthew 20:1-16
- What stood out to you from this parable? Any new insights?
- What does this parable have to say about “fairness”? Does God have a different definition that we do?
- Have you ever felt as if there was someone who did not deserve God’s grace? Has that person ever been you? How does this parable address this idea?