“An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.”
We saw yesterday that the word for “excellence” in this verse is the Hebrew word hayil, which has a wide variety of meanings, including strength, might, power, wealth, army, ability, and virtue. It is a very robust word that is rich in significance.
The Lord calls us to be hiyal in all of our relationships. That is, the Lord calls us to relational excellence and skill in the way we respond to the people in our life.
Remember that the image of God has three dimensions: moral, relational, and functional. The Fall damaged and distorted all three dimensions, and the Cross redeems all three dimensions. God calls us to excellence in all three areas. He wants to live morally, relationally, and functionally in alignment with his standards.
In case you hadn’t noticed, that is why I chose A Call to Excellence as the title for this devotional website. God calls us to moral, relational, and functional excellence.
Proverbs 12.4 is about Relational Excellence. We do not live or work in isolation. Much of life is shaped by how we relate to others and how others relate to us. Nearly everything we do requires that we respond to people with hiyal … that is, relational excellence and skill.
Family is about relationships. The quality of your family life is determined by your hayil (relational excellence and skill) in responding to your spouse, children, parents, and siblings.
School is about relationships. The quality of your educational experience is determined by your hayil (relational excellence and skill) in responding to your teachers and classmates. If you are a teacher or administrator, the same for you toward students and colleagues.
Athletics is about relationships. The quality of your sports team is determined by your hayil (relational excellence and skill) in responding to your coaches and teammates. If you are a coach, the quality of your team is determined by your skill in relating to your athletes, their parents, and coaches on your staff.
The same pattern holds true for business, friendship, ministry, and community. It is about your hayil -- it’s about your relational excellence and skill.
However, when it comes to relationships, the challenge that confronts us is that we often want more than we are willing to work for. Sometimes our desire for quality relationships is greater than our willingness to engage in the hard work necessary to build them. When this happens, our relationships fall short of their potential. Or worse, they become difficult and painful. Be careful of wanting more than you are willing to work for.
The grass is always greener where you water it.
When they go right, relationships are the source of our greatest happiness and fulfillment. When they go wrong, relationships are the source of our greatest sorrow and pain.
Invest the time and build the skill for strong relationships in your life. Develop and apply hiyal in how you interact with and relate people at home and at work. Great relationships don’t just happen; they are the result of trusting God and doing the work.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5.11)
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13.35)