Today’s Scripture: John 10:22-42
Over the past year I have had the oppertunity of becoming friends with many different people. Living in Kansas City I have the pleasure of working with people from Kenya, Camraroon, Guieni, Jordon, Israel as well as Texans. People from nearly every walk of life living in one area, working together to be sure we all can buy the goods we need to survive. Who would think a midwestern city would be such a melting pot?
Since there are many various people from vastly different walks of life my faith in God has grown. My understanding of how to apply scripture has broadened not because God has changed or even that I have changed, but because. Have had the blesing to see how God works in people outside of my culture. A farmboy from the USA read scripture differently than a man from the capital of Kenya. It is the same words but different statments are colored by experiences of life that I myself have no knowledge of.
At our last meeting for worship, our Missions Elder presented a concept of finetuning our giving to missions to focus more closely on one people group or area. Sending the majority of our financial gifts to that area, learning as much as we can about the lives and struggles that they face. At first I would have said no to thi idea. I have a heart for the Gospel and I love Go but why limit myself? I’ve come to realise the more I interact with people from another culture, I grow.
Let me tell you a story. I was at work a few months ago speaking to a friend from a Islamic background. I have enjoyed his friendship for quite some time and have entered into several spiritual discussions. I do have a respect for the Islamic culture through these talks. He came right out one day and asked me to prove Christianity to him and he would convert. The first thing in my mind was to start the debate…but I did not. Not that I do not care or that I am not able to share my faith, but our friendship would have been broken if I would have spoken at that time. I did not know enough about him and his culture to speak effectively and lovingly. So all of what I would have said would have offended not his religion but his very understanding of life and humanity.
This is where I see Jesus in today’s scripture. He I at the feast of Dedication, Channukah for those of us that don’t know. And the people kept asking him to tell them plainly if he is the Christ. He does and they want to kill him because of it. He offended their culture their understanding of God. By saying the words “I and the Father are one.”
A simple statement tured their world upside down. My Islamic friend had asked me several times to prove to him that Jesus claimed to be God, John 10:30 is one of those statements. This offends many people but it also frees many. Jesus is God yet he walked among mankind. Our God knows ou conditions, he knows the stuggles we have with anger, lust, greed, and disception. He knows how you feel, he lived a life similar to yours, not the same but similar. And he can help us live ours too.
Offense will happen but we can lessen it as much as possible, our first response should be showing the grace n love of Christ. Only after showing the lifestyle of Christ we should take the chance of offending. Love first so that our statements that will ruffle feathers will be handled better.