Recently I was at a funeral of a man whose teenage children attend youth programmes in my church. This funeral was unlike any I have ever been to or probably ever will be at. You see, this man was very well known in N.Ireland, and this was reflected in the 900 or so guests that were trying to pack themselves into the pews of our church. In fact this man was so loved that “Stormont” was suspended for that day to allow politicians a chance to say their farewells to a man who they all knew and loved. However the most striking thing about this day was not the amount of people in attendance, but the personal reflections people were making about this man and how this impacted their lives. It is not every day that you will see a former first minister break down in tears as they reminisce of how this person has challenged and shaped the way they think.
When I was at school, a teacher asked the class to list the things we would like the world to remember us by when we died. Our list contained a mixture of things from “the person who found the cure for cancer” to “the world’s best football striker”, but one of the statements which still stays with me was from a girl in our class who was quieter than the rest of us, she walked up to the board and wrote the words “the person who showed kindness and love to everybody she met.”
The man whose funeral I was at, shared this same philosophy; he was “the person who showed kindness and love to everybody he met.” Jesus did some pretty amazing things when he was here on earth, but the most profound thing that Jesus showed was unconditional love to everybody he met; his ministry was built upon friendships, and Paul in Acts 18 is showing us the importance of being relational and having friendships when we are witnessing to others.
If you haven't read Acts 18 before, I recommend you have a read, it's a wonderfully encouraging yet challenging at the same time. Afterwards, ask yourself " How do I need to develop/build/nurture relationships that will impact your spiritual growth and outreach?"