“So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” 1 Thessalonians 2:8
One of my professors in college shared a story with me that will be forever etched in my mind. He lived next to an atheist man who wanted nothing to do with the notion of God and completely rejected the idea of heaven and hell.
Instead of knocking on the man’s door and getting into a theological argument over the existence of God, my professor served the man. He helped him with home repairs, mowed his lawn, and shared his life with him.
As Christians, we run the risk of falling into two categories: cactus or chameleon.
As cactus Christians, we’re quick to share the gospel, but lack care and grace. There’s no relational aspect and we often come off as rude and abrasive.
On the other hand, the chameleon Christian does a good job of blending in. We are highly relational, but never get to the gospel. We don’t want to offend, so we never share.
In the verse above, we see that Paul realized what Jesus demonstrated through his life and ministry: the important correlation between personal relationships and the gospel.
Just as Jesus loves and cares for us, people need to see that we love and care for them out of our love for Jesus. (This is being on mission.)
Because of the relationship my professor built, when his neighbor’s wife died, he was able to speak into his life and share the gospel. The man had never had anyone care for him like my professor—and that day he went from a professing atheist to professing Jesus Christ as Lord.