Updated: Feb 14, 2020
Let us, therefore, make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. [Romans 14:19 NIV]
According to multiple university surveys, the number one thing people desire is PEACE. And, when it comes to this vast longing for peace, I'm sure we all wish God would just snap his fingers and make it happen. But while God could do that, Paul teaches us in his letter to the Romans, in order to actually experience peace in our relationships, an extensive effort is going to be required of us. Three words unveil the revelation, "make every effort."
In context, the direct translation of this term, “make every effort,” brings to light the reality that we could read the verse as follows, “Let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other.” In other words, we can't make every effort, unless we are willing to INVEST ENERGY.
But, to invest energy, you will need to have something left in the tank to give when you arrive at interactions with the acquaintances you value most. And, you want to make sure you have that reserve because you don’t want to give the people that love you the most the worst version of you.
In this vein, I’ve personally observed throughout twenty years of pastoral ministry, too often, we try to substitute other things for energy. For instance, many of us would rather give money than energy. In fact, some of us invest in gifts simply because we have spent all of our energy. However, you need to realize, your son may never remember the baseball you bought him, but he will never forget the one you used to play catch. Just as your daughter may forget the doll you purchased for her, but she’ll never forget when you stopped by her room for a tea party.
In learning to reserve the right amount of energy for our most important relationships, we have to learn (and it was a mentor that taught me this principle), “Focus more on optimizing energy than on managing time.” The result is that we have something left to give when it matters most!