The reason that I am so concerned with this is two-fold. On the one hand, networking seems to be an important way to get things done. I try to remember who I have met, and what they do. I hope to respond to people who call on me for help or assistance. I feel as though a big part of my life is helping others explore issues of faith. I want to be available for anyone who wants to move farther on that journey, or who wants to help others move along that path.
On the other hand, there seems to be a very real danger. How am I to be sure that I am not using and abusing the relationships, the friendships, that I have developed? When do a cross the line between caring about another person to using them for their gifts? Or, more personally, how do I know when someone is using me to further their agenda?
I do not want to ever lose sight of these questions or diminish their significance. I want to build a network that seeks to do the work of the Kingdom of God, but I do not want to take advantage of anyone. I want to help others, and be helped by them, but I want to avoid ever taking anyone for granted, or being taken for granted.
To those ends, from here on, my priorities in relationships are:
- To care for each person for who they are, not for what they can do.
- To listen and care about needs, and to not be concerned about the time they are taking.
- To connect people to one another for God's purposes, not my own.
- To love all people, regardless of their abilities, connections or position.
- To always remember that God is first, others are second. Me and my needs are always last.