The other day I watched Ragamuffin the story of Rich Mullins. The film highlighted his relationship with Brennan Manning the author of the Ragamuffin Gospel. Mullins’ life was far from perfect in fact he struggled with many things in his life. However, this is what the Ragamuffin Gospel is all about. It’s a life of knowing our flaws and acknowledging them to our God. We have to know we are weak. One of the more interesting comments I read in the past year is “They say church if for the weak, and they are right, we are all weak. Church is a gathering of the weak people who are strong enough to admit they need help. Those strong enough to know they need the love, help, and grace of an all powerful God.” A ragamuffin in Manning’s definition is one who is not afraid to admit his flaw, and is one who can humble them self before God. Jefferson Bethke once wrote that “we all crawl to the finish line fighting something.” We all have our weaknesses, we all have things we need to over come and we all need God. Whether your struggle is addiction, a lifestyle choice, or something else, we are all human, and we all share a struggle, but do we have what it takes to admit it?
“If you want fair, you’d be in hell.”
Let the quote above sink in, and just simmer in your mind. He’s right, it we want fair we would all be in hell, we would not be living, nor ever see heaven, we would be in hell. Luckily, we serve a loving God we does not want that for us. We are not promised sunshine nor daisies, life some days can flat out suck, but that’s OK. God puts us through trials, and it’s not just a single trial that dictates our future, our God is a God who is always there for us. Sometimes we fail, failure is OK, but we must learn from failure. Likewise, sin is forgivable if we ask for forgiveness. Ragamuffins may be at a low point in their lives, but they admit it. They love God in the good times and bad. We need to put our egos aside and put the want’s and needs of God first.
The Apostle Paul teaches us we are the church. We are all part of the body of Christ, and we are all different beings. We all have our strengths, and we all have our weaknesses. You can not expect a leg to do the job of a hand, nor should your expect a foot to chew your food. These are not what they were designed to do. An eye can see the world, but won’t hear a word you say. As social creatures we are called together, an we must gather as Christians. As the Apostle Matthew wrote, when two or more are gathered in the name of Him we are the church. We must be the church within the walls of our Sunday gathering spot, and we must be the church outside of them. Church is not something that it limited to Sunday, its a 24/7 practice. 24/7 we are part of the body of Christ. As part of the body of Christ we must try and live the life Christ did. Now we know we can not ever achieve absolute perfection, but we cannot get caught up in this. A lack of trying is inexcusable. Life is a journey and we all have the same finish line in sight, you wouldn’t stop running in a marathon because you stumbled and fell when the finish line is in sight. No, you would get back on your feet and finish the race. So why are we doing this with our lives. The finish line is always in sight, if you God, and you accept Jesus as your Lord and personal Savior, you can see where you will be blessed to go one day. We must try to be perfect, and learn from our imperfections. It’s one thing to be imperfect because it is who we are, but it’s another to be unclean because we serve a loving and understanding God.We must show humility and pure love for God daily.
One of the reasons I love sports, and many people love sports is it gives a nice sense of how imperfect we are. The best athletes fail all the time. A baseball player who fails 60-70% of the time is considered an elite hitter. A quarterback who completes only 60% of his passes is considered elite. This theme hold true in every major sport, people are not perfect. People fail with so much in their lives, but we can not fear it, we have embrace it as a possibility and know how to rebound from it. We have all failed God in our lives. However, the potential to fail God should not deter us from waking up each morning and going about our lives. When you do that to take away the possibility to do good as well. Wayne Gretzky famous quote,
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
This holds true to life in general. If we are too scared to fail we limit our potential to live and learn. Failure and trials is about about pushing you down, its about how we respond. A truly great man will respond to adversity by getting back up, learn from it, reaching out to God, and continue down the road of life a better person.
We are all sinners and God loves us that way, He loves us period. Even the apostles were not the most we perceived people in society Matthew was a tax collector, we was seen as scum. Paul was a murder, Peter denied Jesus three times, and Thomas consistently doubted Jesus. Did I mention Judas betrayed Jesus. What about the adulterous woman about to be stoned? Jesus didn’t persecute her, but saw what was within and used it to show we all have flaws. The only person in that group who could have thrown the first stone was Jesus, the only one without flaw. However, He didn’t, he gave forgiveness. Jesus was a rebel by societies standards, and we need to do the same. We can’t be perfect like Him, but we must try. We need God’s redemption, and we need His grace. If you don’t believe in the value of humility look at the first time Jesus met Matthew. Matthew as mention before was seen as scum by society. Matthew went into the temple with a pharisee. Matthew prayed for forgiveness and cried out he was a sinner. The pharisee prayed thank you for making him unlike other men. God gave forgiveness to Matthew, and condemned the pharisee. He knows we will fail, but expects us to try.
We have to remember God knows everything, and everything we do. You can not hide from God so you might as well admit your short comings. Hiding didn’t work for Adam and Eve, and it won’t work for you. We can not afford to live our lives as if Jesus didn’t exist. We must put God first. We must help the sick, poor, and needy. It’s not a maybe it’s a must. Life is a journey and it takes practice. The best athletes didn’t become good by simply walking into a game, no it took practice, work, and devotion. As Christians we must glorify God in all we do whether at work, home, school, or at the ball game. We are all part of the body and we must push to live as if we are. We are the examples and we are how people will judge the church, and how they will see God. While we may not be perfect, that’s OK, because our God loves and forgives those who seek it.