by Bill Mowry
Can you picture Jesus having a water fight with the disciples as they traveled the Sea of Galilee? Do you feel theologically safe imagining the Son of God hanging out with his friends and having fun?
Elton Trueblood, in his book The Humor of Christ, writes: “Anyone who reads the Gospels with a relative freedom from presuppositions [would] expect to see that Christ laughed, and that He expected others to laugh . . . . A misguided piety has made us fear that the acceptance of His obvious wit and humor would somehow be mildly blasphemous and sacrilegious.” The image of a pious and devout Jesus, always in a somber mood, is a disservice to the Lord who walks through the gospel records.
Life and ministry was more than a classroom or a worship service for Jesus. To put it in contemporary language, Jesus spent a lot of time “hanging out” with the twelve. He knew that relationships were built when people spent time with one another. Besides the hours spent walking together, He was involved with His disciples at:
- weddings (John 2:1-011).
- social dinners (Matthew 9:10).
- public worship (Matthew 13:54).
- times with children (Matthew 19:13).
- visiting friends’ homes (Mark 1:29).
- the Passover Meal (John 13:2).
Hanging out with people builds a familiarity with one another that creates a safe place for vulnerable and transparent relationships, conditions essential for faith conversations.
Jesus modeled the command in Deuternomy 6:6-8. Families, and disciples, are formed when people talk about God’s commands in their living rooms, dining rooms, or workplaces. Our Lord inhabits the everyday routine of life. His presence is not confined to a classroom or worship center. Healthy relationships are built in the messiness of life not in the shallow and contrived space of a building.
The alongsider adventure travels in the vehicle of relationships, people hanging out with one another in the everyday routines of life. But life is busy today. How we can we find time to just hang out with people? Here are some suggestions:
- If married, develop friendships as couples. Get to know a friend’s spouse.
- Plan meals together.
- Invite a friend to your child’s sporting event. Great conversations happen as you watch from the sidelines.
- Capture available moments. If you both attend the same church, capture common moments together after worship services or at church social functions.
Choose one way to hang out with someone this coming week. The adventure of the alongsider begins as we develop authentic relationships in the everyday routines of life.