Are you a ragamuffin? ‘Ragamuffin’ is a pretty unfamiliar word to most of us today. It’s an old word that usually refers to “a poorly clothed often dirty child.” No one wants to think of ourselves in such terms. I didn’t, at least not until I read the Ragamuffin Gospel, a book by Brennan Manning.
The book changed my life. Not because it convinced me to become a Christian, I was already saved and sanctified wholly. It changed my life because it changed the way I understood God’s love. The book begins:
The Ragamuffin Gospel was written with a specific reading audience in mind.
This book is not for the super-spiritual.
It is not for muscular Christians who have made John Wayne, and not Jesus, their hero.
It is not for Alleluia Christians who live only on the mountaintop
and have never visited the valley of desolation.
It is not for the fearless and tearless.
If anyone is still reading along, The Ragamuffin Gospel was written for
the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt-out.
It is for the wobbly and weak-kneed who know they don’t have it all together
and are too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace.
It is for inconsistent, unsteady disciples whose cheese is falling off their cracker.
It is for earthen vessels who shuffle along on feet of clay.
It is for the bent and the bruised who feel that their lives are a grave disappointment to God.
It is for smart people who know they are stupid and honest disciples who admit they are scalawags.
The Ragamuffin Gospel is a book I wrote for myself
and anyone who has grown weary and discouraged along the Way.
Over next several weeks our sermons will focus on the lives of many of the great heroes of the Old Testament – Jacob, Moses, Rahab, David, Jeremiah and Jonah. However, we are not going to visit these great characters during their mountain top experiences with God…instead we will visit them when they were in valley of their own brokenness and doubts. When they recognized they were ragamuffins.
You see, saints are not those who have it all together all the time. According to the Bible, saints are the ones so aware of their weaknesses and frailties, they know God is their only hope and source of strength.
So, if you wonder if you will ever get your spiritual act together…if you wonder if you will ever measure up…if you wonder if God loves you but doesn’t really like you…join us these next weeks and discover the beautiful truth God’s grace is for everyone…even ragamuffins like me (and you).