Thursday 23 April
~ Trudi Clements
During my brief time in Mexico (I will return once this season we are in has come to an end) I was looking at the life of Paul. As a missionary I love looking at, and learning from, his life as he ministered cross-culturally and how he reached people with the good news of Jesus Christ. Today I want to take the opportunity to share with you some of what I see in him.
Paul was humble. His teachings flowed from humility, grace and love. Humility is so important in going into another culture. Go as a learner, not as a teacher, not as a know-it-all. If you observe, listen well, and be sensitive it is easier to connect with new people as you gain a greater understanding of who they are. Humility also enables us to put others before our own freedom of choice.
Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!
1 Corinthians 9 vs 19-23 (The Message)
Although Paul was free to do as he pleased, he would not allow that freedom to confuse and become a stumbling block for other believers. I laid down my right to drink any form of alcohol in Mexico because, to the believers around me, it would be a stumbling block (Romans 14: 19-21). We need to be sensitive to who we are with and be humble. Paul was all things to all people without compromising the truth, he was available and flexible, speaking to different cultures, in different languages, in different styles. He was obedient to God’s Word and the Holy Spirit. The attitude of humility breaks down barriers of many kinds and people are more likely to open their hearts to you, giving you opportunity to share Gods wonderful love with them.
The Lord was also speaking to me about loving deeply. God is love. It’s His love in us that we need to pour out on the broken and hurting people around us. We have a world full of hurting people who need love. A love that is pure, safe, heals, forgives, accepts, includes and builds up – that’s the love of God and we have that love in us. From the traumatised refugee, to the abused child, to the neighbour living in fear, they all need a deep, healing and restoring love that comes from Jesus. Throughout the gospels we see Jesus showing love to the hurting people and He was moved with compassion for them.
Today, let us ask the Lord to make us a reflection of Jesus’ life, to make us sensitive to the hurts of those around us. Human value cannot be equated with race, gender, wealth, social standing or educational background. All people are significant and valuable in Gods order. Christ died for all people, each and every one of us. At the foot of the cross we are all equal, both in our worth to God and in our need to accept His gift of salvation.
In this season right now, let us serve others in love and let us find practical ways that we can we Gods love to them.
Let us live humbly and love deeply.