At the core of the preparation stage is the heart of Christ to develop trust within the relationship. Christ’s ministry was all about connecting with people who were receptive to His message and mission. Not only did He converse with tax collectors (who society hated), lepers (who society shunned), and sinners (who society rejected), Jesus ate with them—which, in the Middle Eastern context denotes a deeper relationship.
To eat with individuals and to heal them as Christ did is an opportunity for His disciples to hear their story as well as share their story. In His interactions, Jesus listened intently to their words and the emotions of their hearts. From this, He parsed out their needs and disbursed His grace to meet these needs in practical ways. Whether or not we can heal supernaturally as Christ did, we can certainly serve our communities by meeting physical, emotional, psychological, social, and spiritual needs. In the end, when the trust was established, Christ pointed humanity to God.
Opportunities will avail themselves to share God’s story of love, freedom, healing, and hope for all those who seek it. Opportunities will be opened to share how God provided love, freedom, healing, and hope for us. Regardless of what happens in the course of our relationships with those we seek to introduce to Christ, the starting point is the establishment of trust. May we find ourselves mimicking our Lord in developing trust in all of our relationships, whether they be in the home, church, work, school, or community.