“Relationships have the power to release your potential.”
This is not a post reflecting my friend Pastor Mike’s teaching, but the statement I quoted above is something I wanted to lend some insight to if I may.
No matter what our temperament, we are all built for relationships… yes, even the straight Melancholies like me! I need relationships. I may feel like I don’t but I do… not many, but I need them. I actually learned this long before I understood temperament. I learned it while working with New York City Relief for 28 years.
I learned that not only did the people in the street need me, or us, but we needed them as well. Jesus said, “as you have done all these things to the least of these, my brethren, you have done it to Me.” Everyone was Jesus in disguise. I found that as I looked at people with that lens, I saw God in everyone of them. I was able to connect with them on a level that most never experience. In fact, there were many, many times that a homeless person would pray for me in the streets.
I was there, fulfilling God’s purpose in my life, and the people He sent me to were a part of my life’s purpose being fulfilled, and vice versa. They needed me, and I need them. But how can a homeless person add value and purpose to my life? Simple… be obedient to God, do what He says, and somewhere in that equation there will be other people involved.
In the mission of New York City Relief it would have been easy to think that you are going in obedience to do what God said to do… but all of us, staff, volunteers, and the people on the streets are all a part of fulfilling God’s will. And indeed, God’s full potential in my life was partly realized through every facet of those 28 years; form serving to leadership. And yes we were able to plant the same seeds in every person we encountered.
But that wasn’t the only place relationships brought out my potential. In fact the most important place was in my marriage, and in our children.
When my book The Process released, my wife felt bad the she thought that “she hadn’t contributed enough to it.” What I told her was that without her, there would be no “Bill Hoffman” as I know him. Our relationship has formed and shaped who I am today, as well as my two daughters.
Now, all of this combined relationship experience is translated out to the community that I currently serve. I often say, my education as pastor and counselor has much less to do with my ability to relate to others and help them, than it does having lived my life, with all it’s failures and victories, and extracted God’s wisdom so that I could apply it, and then pass it along to others.
My own brokenness continues to be transformed and given too the community around me. It is not my disqualification, as my drunken years my seem to have done. The old, lost, drunk “version” of myself was even redeemed by God and utilized to help others.
The wisdom of God is only found in relationships – with God and he people he gives me.
Thanks Pastor Mike for your inspiration.