ragamuffinI recently read The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning for the first time this week and was struck by how timely its insights were, though the book was written 26 years ago.

Ragamuffin is a term meaning the dirty, bedraggled and beat-up of society. These are the ones that society often pushes to the side or disregards completely. But these are the ones that Jesus went out of his way to spend time with, to the consternation of those around him. ““Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” the scribes of the Pharisees asked the disciples (Mark 2:16).

But that is why he came: to save the least and the lost and to show the world that each one of us is the least and the lost, the poor and bedraggled, the ragamuffin, in desperate need of his grace.

In a recent Bible study of the Gospel of Mark I attended, I came to see more clearly than ever how Jesus made a point to reach out to the lowest and laud them for their faith: Blind Bartimaeus who was healed, the widow who gave two small coins, the woman who poured oil over Jesus’ head.

And he wants us to be more like them in our own life of faith. Bartimaeus “sprang up and came to Jesus” when he heard Jesus was coming by (Mark 10:50). The widow gave to God “all she had to live on” (Mark 12:44). The woman with oil did “a beautiful thing” and “what she could” (Mark 14:7-8).

How in my life do I put myself in the ragamuffins’ shoes, so to speak? How do I spring into action for Jesus when I find myself on the sidelines somewhere? How do I give my all for him when my budget is tight? How do I do what I can to reveal to others the beauty of my Savior?

So much of it has to do with attitude. Christ wants us to be servants and to recognize that all we have comes from him. He wants us to get rid of all pride. He wants us to stop worrying about what other people will think.

As Manning writes, “The deeper we grow in the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the poorer we become—the more we realize that everything in life is a gift. The tenor of our lives becomes one of humble and joyful thanksgiving. Awareness of our poverty and ineptitude causes use to rejoice in the gift of being called out of darkness into wondrous light and translated into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son” (The Ragamuffin Gospel, p. 81)

What a joy it is to approach life with a ragamuffin mindset and realize that when we cast ourselves completely upon him, we are rich beyond measure.






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