The second spiritual book everyone must read is Martin Buber’s I and Thou. In his seminal work, Martin Buber reveals a keen understanding of the divine/human relationship. Buber differentiates between two types of relationships: I-it and I-Thou.
An I-it relationship is utilitarian and self-serving. An I-it relationship is the kind of relationship we have with our lawnmower, a toothbrush or even the cashier at the convenience store. We are in relationship with them because they serve a purpose. Once that purpose has been fulfilled or they no longer serve that function, the relationship is severed. Unfortunately, this describes the type of relationship most people have with God.
The I-Thou, the divine/human relationship, focuses on the other. I-Thou relationships transcend selfish desires and temporal wants. An I-Thou seeks the good of the other to the sacrifice of the self.
The value of Martin Buber’s I and Thou is in the illumination of the divine/human relationship. Moreover, I and Thou shows how the I-Thou can exist not only with God, but also within humanity.