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The Relational Economy: Investing - Part 1

  • Hudson Russell Davis Contributing Writer
  • 2010 6 Jul
The Relational Economy:  Investing - Part 1

In the relational economy we place the wealth of who we are at the disposal of another person and hope they will be kind. Whether this is called dating or courting, it is very risky. Some will appreciate and value us while others will see only opportunity. Some will love us as God loved Israel and some will treat us as though we were not worth a deeper or more risky investment on their part.

It is risky, but short of withdrawal and isolation there is no option. We must invest to participate in the relational economy. We either invest or we become hermits. We invest or we must be prepared to reap very little in the relational economy. This is not just true of dating and marriage, but also of life—all relationships require investment.

To invest means to give and so the relational economy must be bidirectional—we give AND we receive. If giving is hard, receiving may be harder. When it comes to the relational economy, we who are loved in heaven should expect to be loved here on earth, but it is not always so.

Do not tolerate disrespect. Tolerating disrespect breeds further disrespect.

Those who invest in us must see us as God sees us in order to love us as God loves us. They must know of our great value in Christ and conclude that we are worth the investment. We ARE worth the investment. We must believe that we are worth the investment so that we do not sell ourselves too low or accept disrespect.

I think of Hosea's investment in Gomer and what it must have meant to Gomer. I think of how the love of God shown to a woman so familiar with disrespect must have transformed her life. I think we are all looking for that kind of love.

God said to that good man Hosea, "Go take a wife who is a prostitute" (Hosea 1:2). Then, without giving us the debate that must have raged in Hosea's mind, Scripture just tells us, "So he married Gomer" (Hosea 1:3). That's it? This sounds like a squandered investment if ever there was one. Who would take all that they had, all that they are, and join it to a person who was not only broke but probably in debt relationally? What man of God would marry a prostitute? Hosea!

Remember, we do not invest as the world invests.

We do not see as the world sees.
We do not think as the world thinks.

And we do not love as the world loves.

If we read Hosea carefully, something startling comes to light—Gomer was loved. It is right there in the story, but we tend to skim over the literal meaning to get to the deeper theological meaning. The book of Hosea IS about Israel, but for the reference to God loving Israel to work Hosea had to love Gomer as God loved Israel. God specifically instructs him:

"Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites … " (Hosea 3:1).

Hosea loved Gomer as God loved Israel. A righteous man loved a prostitute. It seems in all ways absurd and in every way beautiful. She may have taken him for a madman, but he loved her just the same. If she wondered why anyone would want to marry a prostitute, her doubts may have been hushed by his love. So we who have so many competing affections can find comfort when God says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness" (Jeremiah 31:3).

God loved Gomer and he loves us. We are made worthy by God's investment.

For Gomer it may have seemed like a very cruel joke, but she was loved. This was the "fairy tale romance" she had probably NEVER dreamt. If only for a moment, she may have forgotten her stained past. For a day, at least, she may have been the princess—a bride. She was loved and, to God, worth the investment.

We are Gomer!
We are the unloved that God pursued in order to show us his love.
We are the ones in need of redeeming, transforming love.
We are the ones desperate for someone to invest in us relationally.
And because of how God has and is making us—we are worth that investment.

Desperate is how it may feel at times—but we are not desperate. We are loved. We are not forgotten. We do not await some person with sweet words to make us feel good about ourselves. And if we do it is sad, because it leaves us quite vulnerable to the scoundrel.

Each Christian has received a deposit of God's Holy Spirit into his or her bank account. Each Christian has millions, billions in individual spiritual accounts. We are rich beyond our wildest imagination. This makes us very "worth the risk" (2 Corinthians 1:22, 2 Corinthians 5:5, Ephesians 1:14).

More than likely some person reading this has played the part of a prostitute or has simply been unwise with his or her body. Some of us have been unwise with our minds. What sick thoughts Satan often places in the minds of the redeemed. What sick words he often utters through the mouths of some well-meaning fool.

The former prostitute understands what it means to feel out of place in a faith that values physical purity. That person can chew and digest in full what it meant to Gomer to be loved as Gomer was loved. If anyone has convinced you that your past sins exhausted your spiritual or relational account, they are wrong. You are loved by God and thus loveable.

You are Gomer and I am Gomer.
It is we who are unfaithful to God and yet God loves us.
We are Gomer!
We are the unloved that God pursued in order to show His love.
We are Gomer!
We are the ones in need of redeeming, transforming love.
We are Gomer!
We are the ones desperate for someone to invest in us relationally.
We are Gomer!
Because of How God has and is making us—we are worthy of any and all investment.

The relational economy, as the world sees it, looks for value on the surface—God is in the mining business.

Be wise. While Gomer is worthy of our investment, Hosea heard from God. Be wise and seek counsel before approaching Gomer for more than friendship. Still, do not overlook or fail to love simply because the world sees no value in those who have overspent. And you, do not imagine that you have no value because your account is low or empty.

You are Gomer!
You are loved and loveable!


Hudson Russell Davis was born on a small Island in the West Indies called Dominica, and this is only one reason he does not like cold weather and loves guava.  He is a graduate of James Madison University with a B.A. in Graphic Design and earned a Masters in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary.  Currently he is a Ph.D. candidate at Saint Louis University studying historical theology.  Hudson has worked as a graphic artist and worship leader but expresses himself through poetry, prose, photography, and music. His activities are just about anything outdoors, but tennis is his current passion.  He and his wife Rachel were married in 2009

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**This article first published on July 6, 2010.