Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Ragamuffin Saints

ragamuffin - [rag-uh-muhf-in] noun 1. a ragged, disreputable person; 2. a poor helpless child in dirty, shabby clothes. 3. a person whose life is messy.

saints - [sant-s] noun 1. in Christianity, a person who has been saved through faith by Christ; 2. the collective body of those who are righteous in God's sight.

The disciples were a ragtag mixture. Unlike the Pharisees and Sadducees, they were not religious theologians. At all. And yet Jesus said to them, "Follow me."

Simon Peter. So rough and tough to the core, he'd cut your ear off at the drop of a hat. But Jesus said it was Peter, The Rock, upon whom he would build his Church. The Lord picked him; the very one who denied him three times.

The woman at the well; five times down the aisle. She wasn't even considered reputable or respectable, so who would have thought Jesus would actually first reveal himself as the Messiah to someone like that? But he did. Jesus told her.

It is a surprising, and perhaps shocking, concept to really understand the kinds of people God chooses to use and work through. They might not look like what we'd expect. They're laced all throughout the Bible. Regular, ordinary, imperfect people like you and me. His super to our natural.

It is true that formal skill, training, and education are often necessary. However, God's choices are usually less proficient for their calling. He tailors the training grounds of those he calls. No detail is overlooked. Truly, he doesn't call the qualified; he qualifies the called.

We have a tendency to look at things in a much different way than he does. And we sometimes have the wrong notions and expectations of how God really works. His ways and his thoughts are not like ours (Isaiah 55:8-9), and He chooses to use things we wouldn't (1 Corinthians 1:27-32).

The way he goes about doing something can often be perplexing and even unexpected to us. Yet what he does always holds eternal value and significance. Always. 

And God always looks at the intention of our hearts. We might still be maturing in our relationship with him but nevertheless; God sees things within our hearts as only he can. Perhaps it's a sincere willingness to serve; a desire to love unconditionally, a deep yearning to help those who are hurting; or an unusual longing to make a lasting difference in the world. Whatever it is, he sees the gifts and the great, excellent potential within us. And he wants to take it all and use it to impact people, places, and circumstances with his goodness in us and through us. 

A ragamuffin knows their very lives are desperately and humbly dependent upon God the Father in every way. A saint knows their very lives are righteously reconciled and liberated through Jesus Christ the Son in every way.

Perhaps ragamuffin saints seem like an oxymoron; like those two words do not go together. But I think they do. I think we all come from some kind of imperfect or messy background; I just don't think we're all transparent about it.

But the profound beauty of the Gospel is this - it shines the redeeming and restoring truth, love, and light of Christ into our battered and scruffy souls; into those places, nobody else knows about.

And as we believe and invite him in, we're literally transformed into a new creation. We're reconciled to the Father through the Son (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). And we are ever being changed into the likeness of Jesus so that we can truly l-i-v-e.

I think the term ragamuffin saints speak of who we were and where we came from. I think it speaks of an ongoing transformative process that ever reveals our true identity and home. And I think it speaks of what Jesus did for us; of what only he could do.

And what he does is bring us out from those dark, lonely places, and he lovingly walks us into his perfect and marvelous light. He comes in and adorns us with a brand new set of beautiful clothes in exchange for our old, dirty, shaggy hand-me-downs.

Jesus comes in truth and grace. He reveals the deep, abiding love of the Father to us. And many are the ragamuffins the Father chooses.

He wants the wild, ragged, abused, rejected, jaded, wounded, and marginalized. He longs for the broken, the downcast, the outcast, the abandoned, and the hopeless. He desires those who are crushed in spirit, forlorn, and dejected; those who yearn for true connection and purpose.

He loves us up and lifts us up.

He places His Spirit within us.

He adopts us and calls us His own - sons and daughters.


And he sends us out in search of other precious ragamuffins who've lost their way or have not yet awakened to who they really are. And just as Jesus revealed truth, grace, and love to us; so we do the same in turn. We're sent out to help bring these into the kindred because the Father truly longs for them to have a place at the His table too.

I feel the time is coming when He will raise up his beautiful band of ragamuffin saints - these unusual ministers of his magnificent gospel - for the glory and advancement of His Kingdom.

And it will be unlike anything we've ever seen.

~ Michelle

Michelle Holderman
Copyright © 2011 

Photo Source: Carlos Castilla  (iStock/Getty Images)


  1. Love you, Michelle. When it comes to Ragamuffins, you're the best.

  2. This is a great post, and I love your description of ragamuffin saints. Sounds about right I think!!

  3. Kathy, your comment made me smile. Thanks friend. Love you too.

  4. Renee, I always value your thoughts and feedback. Thanks so much. I'm about to hop over to your blog and catch up with you. Much love to you.

  5. Love the new look and name for your blog Michelle.

    God bless you for being willing to share as you do. You bring great benefit to others. Glad I visited today.

    Blessings and healing,

  6. Hey Lisa - thank you so much! Good to hear from you. I appreciate you stopping by.

    Blessings to you friend.

  7. I'm new to this blog, but I'm so glad I found it. Great and mighty words for today. I love my Lord and this post inspired me so much. Thank you Michelle for such a mighty post and may God richly bless you is my prayer for you.

    1. Welcome Elaine. And thank you so much for your kind words and prayer! I'm so glad you found The Ragamuffin Saint too. I appreciate you taking the time to comment on this post. I value your input and never take lightly when someone shares their heart or speaks an encouraging word. So thank you again. God bless you also!! Hope you come back often.

      In His love.