Saturday, July 6, 2013

Polka Dotted God

Every once in awhile, we like to create the mental notion of making God ours.  Whether that means making God American, or keeping Him to ourselves by being reluctant to share, its much easier done than said to keep Him in a box, or so we like to think.  The truth is, God isn't American and He doesn't advocate big church buildings, Christmas trees, or apple pie.

Recently, while making a run to the local internet cafe, our team found ourselves speed walking with tunnel vision through a local market.  In an attempt to avoid making eye contact with street vendors, antsy to sell us wooden bowls and ebony statuettes with overpriced "Makiwa," (white-man) prices, we lost sight of the people around us reaching for the Gospel.  A man followed us through the crowd anxious to talk to Americans, and in a moment of rush trying to escape the market, it took us more than a moment to realize that God positioned Him there to hear the Gospel.  As he walked with us for the next several blocks through downtown, we were able to share the Gospel with Him.  Because we now know where to find him everyday, a few of us plan on visiting him again later to talk more about what it means to follow Christ.  Although he has yet to accept Christ, he, like several others God has put in our path to unexpectedly share with, has had many questions, and it's encouraging to see the direction his questions are leading him.

In our conversation with this man, after mentioning to him that Christ wasn't American or African, he followed up by adding, "That's right, he isn't black or white either, and could be polka-dotted for all we know."  God has been teaching us that the Gospel isn't American, it isn't meant to carry AWANA, youth praise bands, and Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night Bible studies with it.  The customs we've grown accustomed to at home are fine and dandy, but VBS and Bible clubs aren't Christ.  Again and again He has been reminding us:  God's glory first, everything else second.  He's given us tools to share His love, and as American's, we've found they can easily be mixed in with the importance of the Gospel.  American traditions, however, are not Christ's. 

In Scripture, we found multiple accounts of people reaching out for Christ, with his intentions aimed at other persons.  God has been revealing to us that His plan for our lives often leads us on detour routes with unexpectant people ready for the Gospel waiting at the end of the line.  Like Christ, we must be aware of the world around us, we must be aware of what treasure we hold inside of it and the magnitude of impact it holds when released.  We're not meant to be selfish with the Gospel, we're not meant to be American or African with the Gospel either.  Christian translates into "little Christ," we're meant to be Christ-like with the Gospel, the rest is just noise.