When I think of the phrase, “I’ll meet you there,” the first person that comes to mind is Jesus. Jesus didn’t remain in the synagogues, preaching from an elevated pulpit, expecting people to come to him. No, he went into communities, proclaiming the gospel and connecting with people right in the midst of their pain, confusion and sin. Jesus, a Jew, went to a well, asked a Samaritan woman for a drink and then lovingly revealed the agony that she felt in her heart. Jesus didn’t tell Jairus to bring his daughter to him, but instead made the day’s journey to her bedside and healed her. Throughout his earthly ministry, Jesus saw crowds gathered, seeking his teaching, so he taught them truth and fed them, caring for both their physical and spiritual needs. Jesus met people where they were, not where they thought they should be.

In The Message, Eugene Peterson communicates Paul’s heart in 1 Corinthians 9:19-21, “Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, the loose-living immoral ones, the defeated, the demoralized — whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ — but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view.”

Paul modeled his servant attitude and passion to meet people right where they were after the heart of Jesus. As stated in verse 20, he “entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view.” When we are struggling to connect with people who are confused, hurting, or deep in their own sin it may simply be because we are approaching them with hearts that don’t really want to understand. We may be scared, unsure, ignorant, or sadly arrogant. Paul “kept his bearings in Christ,” he remained grounded in the truth of Scripture, and he didn’t waver on his convictions. Yet in doing so, like Jesus, he chose to meet people where they were, not where they felt that they should be. No condemnation. No shame. Just simple and pure grace, truth and love.

Who is God calling you to reach out to today? Will it require you to step into something uncomfortable or messy? Can you recall a time when someone cared enough to step into your mess? How will you offer the heart of Jesus to those around you today?

Lynette Fuson
Care & Counseling Director

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