When I was about 13 years old, I learned an important lesson from my father that has helped shape who I am today. We were sitting in the kitchen and he asked me a simple question: "What is the most important relationship you should have in your life?"
Thinking about this for a few minutes I replied, "The one I will have with my future wife."
I was surprised by my dad's response. He told me that although the relationship with my future wife is important, the most important is the one I have with Jesus Christ. He then continued to teach me that all my relationships would be strengthened because of the personal relationship I have with Jesus Christ.
I have never forgotten that lesson.
I have thought about this question over the years and continue to have a better understanding of why a personal relationship with Christ is so very important. Jesus Christ himself taught, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. ... I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:1, 6 KJV)
We live in a very fast-paced world where things are changing as well as challenging: financial troubles, employment decisions, failing health, to name a few. The Lord has told us to not be troubled, but to believe in God. By having faith in, and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, it allows us to have the proper relationship with our Heavenly Father. Our Heavenly Father loves us and desires that all his children return to live with him again. It is through Jesus Christ that we are able to return to be with the Father.
As for our relationships with others, the Lord taught that the first, great commandment is to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength ... the second (commandment) is to love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31 KJV)
As I have lived my life by these principles -- believing in God and his son, Jesus Christ, trusting in the Lord, and trying to love my neighbors and sharing my belief in Christ -- my life has been blessed.
A few years ago while returning from a business trip, I sat next to a woman with whom I had a pleasant discussion. We talked about many things including religion (I was not of her faith) and before we parted, she asked if she could say a prayer for us. My life was blessed by her prayer.
For those who have taken on the name of Christ, might we all continue to believe in Jesus Christ, believe in God and act in faith with goodwill to our neighbors. May we keep each other in our prayers and be true disciples of Jesus Christ.
Thanks, dad, for teaching me my life would be blessed because of my relationship with Jesus Christ.
-- Kenneth Call is President of the Kennewick Washington East Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Questions and comments should be directed to editor Lucy Luginbill in care of the Tri-City Herald newsroom, 333 W. Canal Drive, Kennewick, WA 99336. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.