The importance of relationships
The current sermon series at my church is on how to have healthy relationships. Recently the message was on the importance of having shared experiences with other believers. Everyone involved in a situation can learn and grow from it while also feeding into others who are impacted as well. Sometimes the events aren’t always good but in hindsight we see those moments in a bit better light as we reflect on the lessons learned and the friendships strengthened. No matter how big or small, serious or trivial or even humorous an experience can be, the outcome can bond people together unlike any other.
The downsizing of a company and several friends are let go.
A summer youth trip that helped an entire student body grow in their walk with the Lord.
The group of people you were with when you heard about the attacks on September 11.
The family vacation where you are in a petting zoo and one of you is cornered by a cow who has decided to grab your leg and attempted to make you his dinner.
The mission trip in Eastern Europe where all you get for a meal is some kind of “meat” covered in a jelly-like substance and a roll.
(Yes, those last two happened to me.)
I was thinking of that sermon on Sunday as I was coming home from the visitation for a much beloved colleague in the industry. Scott Harvey worked for a local publishing company and we have done business together for many years. He is responsible for helping LifeWay create numerous books that are in the hands of hundreds of thousands of people today.
I always looked forward to our meetings. I never knew what accent he would launch into in order to convey a thought or what 80’s rock song he would start singing as ideas were forming in his head. Many times when it was just the two of us, we would just talk life and whatever time might be left, we’d then talk business.
Scott had the most joyful laugh that would start at his toes and race right up and out. You couldn’t help but join in. I’d estimate that 87% of all meetings were spent in laughter. That’s a sound that I hope I remember for a long time. I know the halls of heaven are ringing with his laughter today.
I recognized a lot of people from our industry at the funeral home on Sunday. Many were from here in Nashville while several came in from out of town. There were a lot of friends from his previous job who had stayed in touch over the years. And there were countless number of family and friends that knew Scott from outside of his profession.
What hit me on my drive home was that Scott was our shared experience. No one in the room knew everyone that was there. Only Scott did.
I overheard bits of “Scott stories” and it’s clear that the Scott I knew in a professional manner was the Scott they knew at church or within the family or at other companies he worked with. The creative and crazy person I knew is what they knew. He was exactly himself in all situations and circles. And that is what we all had in common as we were in that room.
You can’t help but think about a life like Scott’s and see the impact he had on countless people and not offer thanksgiving to the One who created him. While cancer took him from us way too early, it was just the right amount of time that God had ordained for him. We have to trust and believe that His plan for Scott was perfect and best and realize that we are blessed to be a small part of his life.
And we have to let seasons like this remind us of the people we have in our lives. Family, friends, coworkers, and even acquaintances represent lives that God has put in our path to do life with. I challenge all of us to see with new eyes the people we know. How can we encourage them today? Do they need to have a reminder that they are known and loved by their Heavenly Father? There could be something that only you can provide them if only you’re obedient to the Lord’s leading.
Go and create shared experiences that will last a lifetime with those in your life. And maybe add a dash of Scott Harvey to it… break out into a heavy metal song every now and then, just to keep people on their toes.