The question almost haunted me all day. As I walked through NYC — business district, parks, Chinatown, Little Italy — and saw people from every culture imaginable, I simply wondered, “Dave, are you relevant?” I saw about a million obsessively in-shape joggers, a culture with which I am definitely not a part. The homeless, I saw many of course. Businessmen and vendors, again, we saw many. I even saw a man wearing a glorified velvet bathrobe, a wizard hat, and a hopelessly fake wand; he claimed to be the “Dragon Master.”
How could I possibly ever be relevant to a guy who claims to be the “Dragon Master?” I walked through the city, moved with compassion, but growing increasingly discouraged by my seeming lack of relevance.
Things began to change when I ran into an Anglican seminarian at a bookstore in midtown. We started talking about our favorite theologians. I named a few, and then he began to tell me that his favorites are Marcus Borg as well as some within the Jesus seminar movement. He continued to explain to me that my literal approach to the Scriptures excludes so many good Jewish and Islamic folks who will inhabit heaven with us, because the sacrifice of Jesus actually saves them too, whether they realize it or not.
As I reflect on that interaction tonight, I’m reminded that my relevance has little to do with me. Not my personality. Not my style of clothing. The gospel makes me relevant and Jesus has made me an able minister of it.
1 Corinthians 3:5-6a:
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament…
That means that by virtue of the fact that God has made me an able minister of the new covenant, and by virtue of the fact that the gospel is the only message by which anyone can or will be saved, I am relevant. Even to the Dragon Master.