‘Friending’ People God’s Way
Editorial by Rubén Ramos
Mark Zuckerberg and his roommate, Eduardo Saverin, founded a social network that, in 15 years, engaged one third of the world’s population. By the end of 2018, the company reported 2.7 billion active users who, at least once a month, use one of the company’s core products: Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram or Messenger. Company leaders have plans to continue growing until they can connect with everyone on the planet.
Among the reasons for Facebook’s success is that it taps into the basic human need to maintain relationships. The prosperous story of Facebook is an excellent example of God’s plan to reach every human being with His grace. Our first responsibility is with those in which we daily relate. Jesus’ first disciples followed Him because of relationships they had with one another: Andrew invited his brother Simon; Philip encouraged his friend Nathanael (John 1:35–51, NKJV).
It took only 30 years after Jesus’ resurrection to penetrate the whole Roman Empire! Paul wrote, “This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven” (Col. 1:23, NIV). This was a miracle, considering all the limitations the believers had. But they carried out the mission following Jesus’ instructions.
Ellen White says, “We need not go to heathen lands, or even leave the narrow circle of the home, if it is there that our duty lies, in order to work for Christ. We can do this in the home circle, in the church, among those with whom we associate, and with whom we do business” (Steps to Christ, p. 81).
Prior to Jesus’ return to heaven, He explained to His disciples how important relationships were: “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you [the Holy Spirit]” (John 20:21–22, NKJV).
People are starving for love and friendship. Like on Facebook, people usually only want to connect with their friends. Similarly, if God is your friend, we should follow His ways in reaching others. “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me’” (White, The Ministry of Healing, pp. 143–144).
I invite you to choose five people from your circle of influence and pray for them daily. As you intercede for them, you will find opportunities to approach them with kindness and lead them to Jesus.
More than 90 percent of people who become part of our congregations do it through relationships—including my grandparents who became believers because a friend led them to Christ. But first we need to reach out and add them to our “friend list.”
Rubén Ramos serves as vice president of Multilingual Ministries for the Columbia Union Conference.