The tax return season has come around again. As a proud Oregonian, I pay state income taxes throughout the year and get all of them back on my state tax return.  

Although I know I will get the money back, it always makes me feel like I won a lottery. I enjoy the excitement every year and believe that it boosts up positive energy in me.  

This time of the year also reminds me that everything we enjoy and benefit from daily has costs: water, electricity, gas, groceries, vacation, education, emergency services and so forth.

Many dedicated Christians sincerely practice tithing to God. Then I wonder, how much our relationships such as with Family, colleagues at work, friends and neighbors are worth. We may even be able to line them up in order of significance and impact that the relationship has.

 We live in the world where we hear reports of abusive parents, disrespectful children, unappreciative and untrustworthy friends and indifferent neighbors. One may wonder whether there is actual value in relationships that constantly hurt or degrade. My answer to that is “Yes, there are.”  

According to the Bible, when the first relationship among people was established, God put unnegotiable value on the relationship between Adam and Eve. Those two were meant to help each other to be complete and more successful.

 Although some with hardened hearts in this highly competitive society seem to have tarnished the intrinsic value of the Family and other people in life, we should not give up on the part we can play.  

Every relationship is sacred and precious. There are only two things on which we do not put a price tag – one with no value and the other with incomparably high and substantial value.  

No one can set a price for air, peace, ocean and Family. They are given for free because no one can afford to pay the full price. We should not be confused about them with things of no value.   

What do we do when a really valuable thing is broken?

We tend not to immediately throw it away, but patiently try hard to fix it. Our Family and friends are priceless. When the relationship with them becomes shaky and damaged, we don’t just give up. We would rather want to invest our time and emotion to repair it.  

As a member of the military community, I strongly believe we are called to be the people who guard and fight for the value of these treasures in the society.

We are the ones who know the true value of Family and friends. We will take bullets for our comrades and call each other brother and sister.  

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” – John 15:13.

If you struggle with someone in your Family or among your friends, please do your best to bring peace to the relationship. Money comes and goes, but true friends will stay with you forever – they are the real treasures you don’t want to lose in life.