Invest in Gospel-Centered Relationships

South Asian women

I got out of my taxi and walked down the street, stopping at Rajani’s* gate. Rajani, a neighbor named Swetha*, and their friend Lukshmi* were talking. I said hello, but what Rajani said next caught me off guard.

“Emily, tell Lukshmi about Jesus!”

My neighbors Rajani and Swetha aren’t followers of Jesus, so this was the last thing I expected to be asked.

“Well, what do you want to know?” I replied.

It turned out that Lukshmi was writing a report for school on Jesus and needed some facts. About an hour later, the girls gathered in my apartment and they drew henna tattoos on me while I shared the gospel.

I gave Lukshmi a Bible and prayed for the girls. I haven’t seen Lukshmi again, but I see Rajani and Swetha whenever I’m out in my neighborhood.

I make it a point to stop at Rajani’s gate and talk with her anytime she’s outside to build my relationship with her. Before that night, I had told her about Jesus many times but was never sure if she understood. The fact that Rajani recognized me as someone who knew about Jesus was a step in the right direction.

When I take the time to invest in Rajani, she hears about Jesus. When we all take time to invest in our relationships, our friends should walk away knowing more about Jesus because they’ve been with us.

Why do we invest in relationships? Because when Jesus did the same with His friends, their lives changed for the better.

For example, take the relationship between Jesus and Peter. From walking on water to Peter’s statement “To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68) to Peter’s denial of Jesus not once but 3 times to Jesus’ reestablishing their relationship over breakfast in the Gospel of John, Jesus and Peter had their fair share of ups and downs.

But through it all, the gospel was the center of their relationship. After Jesus ascended into heaven, He left Peter to lead the charge in starting the church and to invest in others as Jesus had with him.

When the gospel is the center of how we invest in relationships, our friends’ lives will change. People come and go, but regardless of the person or circumstance, we are called to rethink how we invest in people.

Emily Todd* is a cross-cultural worker serving among the people of South Asia.

*Names changed.

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