Maybe it’s a doctor’s call that sends you reeling, or ambulance lights in the dark. Maybe your spouse has lost their job or you have a kid who’s in trouble. One way or another, panic is rising, and isolation threatens to set in. What do you do?
If you’re like most of us, you’ll probably reach for the phone to seek out a voice of reassurance and support. You probably have a “top five list”—a list of people you know you can call on in a time of personal crisis with confidence that they’ll come through for you.
But whose list are you on? Who are the ones closest to you, the ones who put you down as an emergency contact or call you when everything hits the fan?
And here’s the challenge: Are any of them not-yet-believers?
Sometimes the “good Christian life” is just plain busy. We find ourselves in a rut, or some would say, a “bubble,” surrounded by other Christians and not quite sure how to deal with those in our lives who haven’t yet decided to follow Jesus. What does it look like to have authentic, fun, and lasting friendships with people who don’t yet have a relationship with God, to the extent that you’d make their top five when times get tough?
Our identity as “sent ones” makes it necessary for us to learn how to enjoy and participate in redemptive relationships with not-yet-believing people. Genuine relationships are a two-way street: these friends enrich your life and you can be a valuable influence in their lives—not to mention that it’s an opportunity to practice loving them in Christ’s name. What would it be like to be friends with many kinds of people, intentionally seeking to be a voice of hope and encouragement and an aroma of Jesus in the midst of a broken world?
Are you on anyone’s top five list? What are some places you go already—like Starbucks, the gym, or the grocery store—where you could be more intentional about forming these fun, authentic relationships with not-yet-believers?