I read 2 Samuel about the fractured relationship between King David and his son Absalom. I read how his own son plotted to overthrow David. Recognizing what was taking place, David fled in shame, his head covered, barefoot and weeping bitter tears.
“And David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went, and his head was covered and he walked barefoot.”1
As I read this, I asked myself, Why did the king of all Israel cry? Was it because he felt the pain of betrayal? Was it because he saw the damaged relationship between him and Absalom? Whatever the reason, I believe David experienced loss; a loss more costly than the crown of a kingdom, David felt relationship loss.
There is a cost to keeping a relationship alive and valued, often many will say, “It’s too high a price!” There in 2 Samuel, I read something which caught my eye. It seemed to be an almost nondescript entry which by itself has no importance but there it was.
Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, "Why will you also go with us? Return and remain with the king, for you are a foreigner and also an exile; return to your own place…Return and take back your brothers; mercy and truth be with you."
But Ittai answered the king and said, "As the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, surely wherever my lord the king may be, whether for death or for life, there also your servant will be.”2
As I read this, I realized the cost of a relationship is one’s life. Ittai said he was willing to either live or die with David; that was the price he would invest in their relationship. I thought about how cheaply I had valued relationships. I had never contemplated giving my life for someone. In certain situations, I would certainly fight to the death to save those I love but I do not believe I've ever truely invested myself in another person; I held part of me back, reserved what I valued. It saddens me to say that (in the past) I would never sacrifice my life; particularly when my relationship to someone was threatened.
These few verses aren’t as voluminous as the book of Ruth, who says to Naomi,
But Ruth said, "Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.”3
I then read the book of Philemon, where Paul writes a letter about a slave who had stolen from his master (Philemon) and then run away. Somehow, the lives of Paul and Onesimus (the slave) meet and a slave discovers the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul sees value in a person once considered valueless. He writes that the slave is more valuable now because he is a slave no more; he is a valued brother. Not satisfied with recognizing the value of Onesimus, Paul continues:
“But if he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account…”4
Offenses carry a cost associated with them. Too often, we value the offense more than the relationship. When the question, Quanto Costa? (Or how much) is raised, some will say, It’s too high a price!
A relationship costs the investment of one’s life. It is not something you can half step your way through; it's the price you must willingly give.
Jesus paid that price so that we could have a relationship with the Father. When He looked at the cost for you and me, He hung on a cross and died. That’s the price of relationship.
May each of us understand that relationships have real value and that nothing is greater than the life of someone; no offense can amount to the value of a life or a relationship.
- Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, By James B. Strong, S.T.D, LL.D., Riverside Book and Bible House, Iowa Falls, Iowa 50126
- The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Bible), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6