I first blogged about this last year in a rant titled A Ragamuffin Reality, but the last part of the quote struck me again just recently.
The ministry of evangelization is an extraordinary opportunity of showing gratitude to Jesus by passing on His gospel of grace to others...To evangelize a person is to say to him or her, You, too, are loved by God in the Lord Jesus. And not only to say it but to really think it and relate it to the man or woman so they can sense it. This is what it means to announce the Good News. But that becomes possible only by offering the person your friendship--a friendship that is real, unselfish, without condescension, full of confidence, and profound esteem (The Ragamuffin Gospel, p.124).
I've been discussing with some friends online what it means to be a friend, to be a Christian and to know Jesus. And while I don't pretend to have all the answers, I do think that relationships are key to experiencing and knowing God. I don't mean some fantastical relationship with an unseen deity. I believe we can find God by investigating the people around us and investing in relationship.
A relationship takes initiative, trust and the ability to listen. Too often, I'm too lazy to make the initial investment. The first step in any effort is usually the toughest for me. But once I take that step, I have to then fight through the fear of being discovered. Trust is not an easy barrier to overcome, especially when your confidence is low. And once the first two barriers are broken through, I find myself doing a lot of talking and not enough active listening.
A relationship requires that I let down my guard. Letting my guard down requires some semblance of humility. Humility proves that I don't have it all together and runs counter to my nature...but it runs right to the core of Christ's nature, who being in very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped (Paul's Epistle to the Philippians).
If only I could mirror that kind of humility in my own life.
Are you a ragamuffin like me? Do you struggle with relationships? Do you often fail at living the Good News?