Cultivating Relationships and Sharing the Gospel

Praying friends

“I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings (1 Cor. 9:22—23 NIV1).

Cultivating relationships often begins by meeting the needs of those around us. In communities where arts are valued, missionaries develop creative studios. In areas where international students need after-school care and homework help, missionaries open their homes for dinner and tutoring. In cities where sports are esteemed, missionaries offer free summer sports camps. In towns where men and women enjoy quilting and woodworking, missionaries purchase supplies and provide crafting workshops.

Before we can cultivate relationships through meeting needs, we have to know the needs. How well do you know your community? When was the last time you took a walk in your neighborhood and stopped to chat with someone? Do you ever intentionally go to a coffee shop and stay awhile, engaging the other patrons in meaningful conversation? Are your children or grandchildren or church children involved in sports? Perhaps you could spend some time talking to other families during practice? You know, sometimes needs are found right inside the walls of our churches, too. Do younger families need help with their children? Do older members need help with household maintenance or shopping? How can you discern the needs of your community?

As we learn of the needs of others, we must follow in Paul’s footsteps to become all things for all people for the sake of the gospel. We must develop hearts willing to set aside our own wants and desires. We must develop flexibility to quickly adjust our schedules as needed. We must develop minds set on things that are eternal, rather than things that are temporal. We must develop spirits attuned to the Spirit of God in order to be responsive to His leading.

When we become all things for all people and seek to actively meet the needs of others, we demonstrate the love of Christ. Our demonstrations of love show others the joy of living with His grace and mercy. Obstacles are removed and doors are opened for sharing the gospel.

As we enter this holiday season, pray and ask the Father to open your eyes to the needs in your community and to enlarge your heart with a desire to meet those needs. Cultivate relationships and watch the seeds of the gospel grow.

Pray: Father, thank You for Your promise that You will meet all the needs of Your children according to the riches of Your glory in Christ Jesus. Open my eyes to see the needs of those around me. Open my heart to share my time and my love with others. Embolden my spirit to step out of my comfortable world and into a community who so desperately needs to know Your love. Guide my steps and guard my heart. Amen.

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1Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide

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