In recent years I have come to the very sad realization that for far too much of my Christian life I have acted more like a "preacher" than a "reacher."
I suppose, if we look at Jesus as our example, we would be prone to say that he knew how to balance the two out - he was both a "reacher" AND a "preacher." Unfortunately, we tend to spend a lot more time focusing on, and putting into practice, the "preaching" part - meaning that we come on a bit strong with those unfamiliar with the faith - as opposed to the "reaching" part - which is actually more difficult because it involves establishing relationships with people who might make us feel uncomfortable.
You know - sinners.
I am, today, a firm believer in "reaching" people first, and then letting the "preaching" come later - either naturally, though HOW I treat them, HOW I live, letting them observe the choices and decisions I make, etc. and then, of course, if God opens the door - sharing the gospel (preaching).
Frankly, I am a little tired of hanging around Christians. Let me clarify that - I mean cranky, narrow-minded, critical, bitter, angry, finger-pointing, Bible-waving Christians. Folks who shudder if they hear someone say "shit" or who go into panic mode if they have a friend who smokes or imply that God only loves those who have jumped through some sort of series of spiritual hoops... or, ya know - Pharisees.
I am tired of hanging around Pharisees.
I am hoping that I get more and more opportunities to hang out with a whole lot of people who are in desperate need of RELATIONSHIP and UNCONDITIONAL LOVE and ACCEPTANCE. Well, ya know - like the DISCIPLES.
I wanna hang out with Disciples. Because the Disciples had issues.
So which are you - a "reacher" or a "preacher?"