I would say that it is only recently, that I have entered into a conversation that suggests that God is relational. I would have told you before this that I had a relationship with God, and I would have been right, we all do. What that meant though, would not have been compared to a relationship between two humans. I can say now though, without a doubt, it is the same. Because of what Jesus means to Christians everywhere, we are able to enter into this kind of relationship with a living God.
So what does this mean for me spiritually? There is great benefit that comes from this kind of relationship. But to focus on the benefit I receive is selfish. Why did God make this kind of relationship possible? How does it relate to our mission as followers of Christ? The fullness of Truth that would answer these questions may never be realized. All I can do is take these questions with me day to day, and allow God to show me as I live in relation with Him.
Lately I have been giving much thought to the poor. I have realized that there are many programs set up for outreach. Evangelicals can be found on almost every corner of poverty stricken areas in America, and many throughout the rest of the world. They offer sandwiches and a place to sleep, assistance with child care, money for medical treatment etc.. Why do these well meaning programs seem to get nowhere? Are they fulfilling the call that Jesus gave us as Christians to bring people to Him and the freedom He offers? Personally, I would say no. Not that this kind of thing is not what God wants us to do, I think this kind of assistance plays a vital role in what we are called to do. However, something tells me that we are called to take it further. And I say this only because of what I see, and how I feel when I give a homeless man a few bucks. Sure, I feel good that I could help. And the homeless will never complain about a few dollars for food. What gets to me is that I often feel terrible later. Why? Probably because I was reaching downward, not out.
Does God reach downward to me? No. He reaches out to me. He brings Himself to my level and loves me. He offers me a friend when nobody else seems to care. He doesn't just give me a pat on the back and then go away. He doesn't offer advice without checking in to see how it is going. Not once has God ever reached down to me, He has always reached out as He stands right in front of me, on my level. He did this for humanity when He sent Jesus. He knew our need for relationship and came to our level.
When Jesus commissions us to bring people to Him, He did not leave us without the means to do it. What He is, and represents shows us clearly how to do this. Giving sandwiches and money is not sufficient if we are attempting to show others the riches and freedom that God's story has for others. What people without God need and desire is relationship. And we should desire for them to know God like we do. We are called to seek out, befriend, nurture and encourage others into relationship with God. It seems so evident that I should reach out to others as God reaches out to me. Now, if I could only find a way to get over myself enough to do that.