How much do you value relationships? Are people important to you, or are they merely things to be trodden on or used for your own purposes? Does it bother you if you have fallen out with someone and never put it right?
This verse tells us how much Jesus valued relationships. In fact, He says they have priority.
The Jewish scenario here is of someone planning to bring an offering to the Lord. He must be a good person because he has sacrificed a lot to bring this gift to God. However, as he makes his way to the altar he remembers he has fallen out with his brother with the result that there is an outstanding issue between them. Now he has a decision to make. Should he ignore the nagging feelings of discomfort and guilt around this broken relationship? Should he continue to bring his offering and make sacrificial giving more important than relationships? No. Jesus says, put your offering down, sort out the matter first, then come back and offer to God.
What would this look like today?
Perhaps you have decided to give money to the Lord’s work. Maybe you are giving up your time to serve Him. Perhaps you have a beautiful prayer to offer in worship. If you then remember that you have a relationship breakdown with someone, Jesus said putting this right is your priority and must be done first.
Stop everything else. Forget the sacrifice. You have something more important to do. Go and sort out the issue. Regardless of who started it or who you think is in the right or wrong, sort it out. Be reconciled. Apologise if you need to, talk about what went wrong and do what it takes to make the relationship right. Then come back to your gift of service, time, money or worship, and bring it to God secure in the knowledge that your priorities match with God’s.
Relationships matter. God values them so much that he wants us to sort them out FIRST. Go and do it now if you need to. Make contact and start the process of healing. Then come and offer your gift.