If there is one aspect of God’s character that surprises me the most (and shouldn’t), it is the act of Him pursuing me.
He wants me! He pursues me! He actually cares about what I care about!
This astounds me.
There is nothing interesting about me, I am a sniveling child, a lazy servant, a half-hearted follower, a doubting learner, an arrogant leader. There is little about me worth pursuing.
But the fact remains, He pursues. He asks. He delves. He digs. He isn’t interested in me staying where I am.
When we pursue a gospel-centered community, we must understand that we are the imago dei, the image of God. We represent Him to others. He doesn’t need us to represent Him, but we get to. He lets us fools do that. I’m astounded.
Because we’re representing Him, we communicate this aspect of His character by pursuing others. We find the wallflower and ask intentional questions, communicate that we are interested in their life. Not because we have to conjure up the interest, but because when we understand the gospel, we understand that there is nothing of interest about any of us on that very level playing field. We are no longer impressed by long resumes or disenchanted by short ones–because in God’s kingdom we understand the last shall be first and, in fact, already is!
This is difficult, because the same as the gospel reaches in and changes us (sometimes painfully so), building community is painful and sometimes requires doing difficult, dirty, discouraging things. It means not turning away from someone the moment they bore you at the party; it means praying for opportunity to have meaningful conversations in uncomfortable situations; it means going back, again and again, to a social situation where you may feel out of place or perhaps unwanted.
Jesus ate with tax-collectors and sinners.
I love that.
Jesus ate with with the rich and corrupt. He ate with the sick and morally fallen, with leaders and even those who would turn Him over to death.
He wasn’t worried about a conversation topic keeping Him from building relationship.
He found something to talk about.
Go and do likewise.