December 17, 2020
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
After only working in Christian organizations, I came to the reality that my friendships were predominantly with people who believed, thought, and even looked like me. While comfortable, the Holy Spirit began prodding me to consider what elements of my life needed reprioritization in order to be available for cultivating relationships with those who hold different worldviews and whose lives look different from my own. Two years ago, God helped me reprioritize by providing a vocational shift creating more time at home and more opportunity to connect in my neighborhood.
Since then, I’ve met neighbors like the self-identified anarchists who invited us to a strategy meeting for neighborhood racial safety. Through a social media group, I’ve had ongoing interactions with a gender non-conforming neighbor which began from their private reminder to not use gender-specific pronouns and has since turned into encouragement about bettering our neighborhood. After greeting the gay couple who moved in across the street, we realized our kids are similar ages and they’ve invited us to a family get-together after the pandemic ends, which I look forward to.
In Rosaria Butterfield’s book, The Gospel Comes with a Housekey, she discusses the importance of opening our hearts to whomever God brings across our path with “radical hospitality.” It is this type of counter-cultural relationship development that Jesus demonstrates when he invited himself to the home of Zacchaeus in Luke 19, a decision which received great criticism by his community for going to hang out with “a sinner.” I love his pointed retort to their critique: “…this man, too, is a son of Abraham.” While this encounter was certainly orchestrated by God, Jesus made the intentional choice to engage with a man of despised reputation. His action here challenges me to stay available and to be seeking the opportunities God might orchestrate to connect with whomever He puts in my path.
— Kim Stave