Some folks surely are strange. They dress, talk, act, and work at things that are very different from our accustomed ways. The food that is regular daily fare is downright nauseating for some of the rest of us. Cleanliness is not uniform around the world or in the US. Care for children is not the same universally. The lack of dental hygiene has left some people nearly toothless at a very early age. Sanitary conditions are deplorable in much of the world and therefore the smells of communities can be revolting.
When we see and experience those lifestyles, we too often withdraw and fail to even seek to build bridges of understanding. Everything in us wants to get back to “our kind of people” and “our food, comforts, and culture”. And, while we think that others may be strange, the truth is that they think the same thing about Americans and how very spoiled we are.
The call of our Lord Jesus was for us to reach “all” with the Gospel. It is very hard to reach with spiritual things if we are turned away from any interaction with those of other cultures because of physical aspects of life that is so very different. When we add to the “external” differences the religious differences between groups of people, it is quickly apparent that most believers have never engaged anyone in talking about Jesus (within our own cultural setting or those from other cultures). Our calling is to take the Gospel “everywhere”….to “every tribe, language, people and tongue”. The Lord who commanded us will hold us accountable for our obedience.
According to a traditional Hebrew story, Abraham was sitting outside his tent one evening when he saw an old man that was weary from age and journey coming toward him. Abraham rushed out, greeted him, and then invited him into his tent. There he washed the old man's feet and gave him food and drink. The old man immediately began eating without saying any prayer or blessing. So Abraham asked him, "Don't you worship God?"
The old traveler replied, "I worship fire only and reverence no other god."
When he heard this, Abraham became incensed, grabbed the old man by the shoulders, and threw him out of his tent into the cold night air.
When the old man had departed, God called to his friend, Abraham, and asked where the stranger was. Abraham replied, "I forced him out because he did not worship you."
God answered, "I have suffered him these eighty years although he dishonors me. Could you not endure him one night?" Thomas Lindberg.
If we only see the differences, we will never see the opportunity that the LORD has placed before us with the person in a restaurant, business, or school who comes from a religious background and country that is not the USA. Shouldn’t we do “international” missions in the US when the LORD brings the other nationalities to our doorstep? Have we ever rejoiced that the LORD brought someone from the other side of the world to cross paths with us so that we could the “the one” to share the truth of Jesus with them? Look around…someone came a long way from another country just to visit with you by the will of our God. Why? They want to know what you know regarding Jesus. Are you vigilant and expecting to meet them? Today may be a divine appointment. Don’t miss it!