Good Lives

What determinants shape people’s lives?   Almost everyone will have his own list.  But it’ll be beneficial to focus on the following: 1) destiny, 2) intellect, 3) physical characteristics, 4) ethnicity, and 5) economics.  These factors aren’t listed in any order of importance.  It may well be that the  business-minded might put “economics” as being of prime importance to the other categories.

Destiny – If you believe in destiny this may be how you’ll view experiences in life.  For some people this feature is difficult to put a finger on.  There are those who think that with almost all things there’s free choice.  Some feel that they are always making choices, but they may not necessarily be doing so.  Thomas Merton (1915–1968), a Catholic writer and mystic wrote, “Love is our destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.”  Merton in No Man Is an Island discusses this aspect of our lives, and provides insights about mankind’s nature.

Intellect – Undoubtedly some people are truly endowed with intellectual gifts and are considered geniuses.  Their ability to recall and interpret what they have read is phenomenal.  But some people may display their talents in other ways.  They may not be intellectually savvy, but are spiritually insightful.  As Christians we have at least one gift.  Maybe this special gift may go unrecognized, but it’s nevertheless God-given.

Physical Characteristics – This is how people are physically regarded by others.  Some may appear to be like eye-candy.  They are beautiful, charming, and charismatic. Others may be endowed with natural beauty, and their admirers make praiseworthy comments about them.  These persons are blessed with striking personalities, and when they walk into a room they are able to turn heads.  Joel Osteen (b. 1963), a televangelist and author said, “I believe that God put gifts and talents and ability on the inside of everyone of us.  When you develop that and you believe in yourself and you believe you’re a person of influence and a person of purpose, I believe you can rise up out of any situation.”  To Osteen, it’s more than the physical characteristics which matter.  He saw that with whatever qualities individuals have, the Creator can shape them into being people of influence.

Ethnicity – In some societies people’s ethnicity might be a cultural death sentence.  Prior to the 1960s it was this way in South Africa, Rhodesia, and to some extent the United States.  In many countries of the world skin color still determines privilege.  Even today in America this image persists in various forms, although this nation did elect a bi-racial president in Barack Obama.  People from every ethnic group are gifted in their own way, and are children of God.  Dis-proportionally in America, blacks because of a past history of slavery have been dogged with poverty, lack of education, poor housing and low living conditions as compared to whites.  Paul Ryan (b. 1970), a Republican U.S. representative of Wisconsin said, “Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together.”  This remark goes to show that we ought to stop thinking about ethnic characteristics in order to move forward as communities.

Economics – Interesting enough what people do in life may determine how much money they have.  But this isn’t always the case.  Some individuals are born into rich or middle-class families, while others are poor from birth.  Some may be so poor that they are unable to see their way out of poverty.  Even with help there are those individuals – some of them hungry and homeless, who are still unable to make ends meet.  Like some of the indigent giving aid, training, and handouts won’t turn their lives around.  Yet there are those in society that continue to believe that all people can pull themselves up by their boot straps.  Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), a founding father of the United States wrote, “Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in his nature to produce happiness.  The more of it one has the more one wants.”  It’s obvious that money by itself is worthless, but what matters is how it’s used.  Charitable givers demonstrate that money used wisely can make a difference to those in need.

Be Lights in Our World

By the way you live let your light shine to all people. By speech and actions tell your story.  There must be brightness in your character that casts out the darkness of doubt.  You must shine like the sun, twinkle like stars, and be at peace in the world.  Remember to share love, and spread it to everyone – the happy and unhappy, rich, poor, hungry, and the homeless alike. Let your speech spread wisdom when you meet friends, strangers, and the brokenhearted of this world.  An author Wilferd Peterson (1900–1995) wrote, “Let your light shine.  Be a source of strength and courage.  Share your wisdom.  Radiate love.”

Another poet and writer Wheeler Wilcox (1850–1919) said, “The man who radiates good cheer, who makes life happier wherever he meets it, is always a man of vision and faith.”  Are you able to forgive the indiscretions of people?  Must you forgive hurt when it’s done?   Can you forgive the wrongs of those who are rude, cruel and offensive?  Despite the nature of these wrongs you must still be willing to forgive your friends, neighbors, and enemies.  A professor of psychiatry of the State University of New York, Thomas Szasz (1920– 2012) wrote, “The stupid neither forgive nor forget, the naïve forgive and forget, the wise forgive but do not forget.”

Thoughts & Actions

As the saying goes, “Be kind to others.”  It’s always good to acknowledge acts of kindness.  Remember to send thank-you cards, notes of appreciation, and even peace offerings to those you don’t see eye to eye with.  By doing what’s right you’ll be expressing kindness by taking the high road.  It’s always wise to do favors to the least among us.  Encourage your friends, pat them on their backs, and say a few words of encouragement.  Never give up on people.  When conflicts arise with them think about what you can say and do to appease them.  An unknown writer wrote, “We greatly influence others with our thoughts, if our thoughts are kind, peaceful and quiet, turned only toward good, then we also influence ourselves and radiate peace all around us.”

You must bend over backwards by doing a favor, and building confidence in others.  It’s always time to compliment, support, and acknowledge the good people do.  This is what Saint Teresa of Calcutta (1910–1997), a Roman Catholic nun often did.  It was she who said, “Let no one come to you without leaving better and happier.  Be the living expression of God’s kindness.  Kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”

 Our Demeanor

Like Jesus we must be an example of lights in the world.  By modeling Christ we ought to be living symbols of the good news to mankind.  Your lights mustn’t be hidden nor dimmed, but shine brightly on those we encounter.  Why hide your light under a bushel?  A Christian’s work is for all to see.  It’s hoped that through your lives people will come to know the Lord and glorify his name.  For all things you must be thankful.  When reaching out to people do so with joy, and by make his Word known to them.  In ministering if you’re able to reach one lost sheep, consider this was what you were called to do.  The hallmark of your faith is simplicity and humility.  In encountering people be a positive experience, for your walk is crowned by our Savior, a truly brilliant light.

 

Live in Peace

Hezekiah prayed for peace and security for his people (2 Kings 20:19).  “It is honorable to refrain from strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel” (Prov 20:3).  King David encouraged his followers to “depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it” (Ps 34:14).  Eccl 9:18 states wisdom was better than weapons of war.  But in being at war, it is best to surrender to the power of God (1 Sam 14:1-14). An Italian Roman Catholic friar and preacher Francis of Assisi (1182–1226) prayed, “Lord make me an instrument of thy peace.  Where there is hatred, let me sow love.”  To Francis, prayers of love drive out hatred.  People will fear no one.  There’s the realization that men and women are able to live peaceably.

Who must offer the gift of peace?  It’s important that these gestures be made by peacemakers.  Lyndon B. Johnson (1908–1973), president of the United States said, “Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must take one step at a time.”  Undoubtedly Johnson must have been thinking about lasting peace.  Peace for the wrong reasons won’t endure.  It’s fitting that everything comes together, one at a time.  Then nations can delight in well-drafted peace treaties.

Peace with Ourselves

The current Dalai Lama (b. 1935), of the newest school of Tibetan monks wrote, “We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”  This is where the peace processes begins.  We’ve to do the work and ask ourselves the tough questions about living up to these challenges.  Such questions aren’t necessarily easy.

A rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter Jimi Hendrix (1942–1970) said, “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.”  Hendrix viewed power as a stumbling block to peace.  It’s only when we recognize this we could see artificial divisions crumble.

Peace without Force

Albert Einstein (1879–1955), a German-born theoretical physicist wrote, “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.”  This fact is essential when nations come to the bargaining table, when all underlying grievances must be ironed out in coming to a meaningful agreement.

Negotiators’ attitude is essential during peace talks.  St. Francis de Sales (1567–1622), a Roman Catholic bishop of Geneva said, “Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly in a calm spirit.  Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”  During peace negotiations there are usually bumps in the road, but it’s wise to remember having the right attitude is essential.

Dada Vaswani (b. 1918), an Indian spiritual leader wrote, “Happiness, true happiness, is an inner quality.  It is a state of mind.  If your mind is at peace, you are happy.  If your mind is not at peace, but you have nothing else, you can be happy.  If you have everything the world can give – pleasure, possessions, power – but lack peace of mind, you can never be happy.”  Indeed, Vaswani was referring to having personal peace, but part of this journey requires courage, for our peace might well depend on others.

Victory in Suffering

No one likes to suffer.  Yet it is through the suffering of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who died on the cross at Calvary, our victory was won.  Jesus died the most excruciating and humiliating death.  As we learned in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John he was condemned by a council of religious leaders, beaten, nailed to a cross, pierced, died, buried, resurrected, and ascended to heaven.  He is now seated at the right hand of God the Father.

Like him people continue to suffer for various reasons.  To sinners such sufferings are like days of doom and are hopeless.  They gain nothing, save the disgrace, torture, misery, and death.  To Christians however suffering has meaning.  It may come as chastisement from Our Lord Jesus Christ for wrongs we’ve done and continue to do.  Over and over again the Holy Spirit may be warning us not to go down our chosen sinful paths.  Yet we insist in doing exactly how we feel, for many say they are having fun doing these unsavory deeds.  It’s then that the Lord may step in to try to change our minds because he loves us.  He brings us afflictions so as to guide us back to his flock (Heb 12:5-11).

Our Own Will

Still people have their own will and may decide not to listen to God’s voice.  He however will never give up on us.  God may decide to turn on more pressure when we refuse to listen.  People generally know when they are going astray.  Their consciences serve as uniquely accurate barometers concerning the way they live.  If they insist on being obstinate after being warned, and being prodded time and time again, the Lord may eventually give up on them.  This is when people’s hearts have grown hardened with sin.  The results of flagrant disobedience could lead to eternal damnation.

Gift of Suffering

Suffering might well be for our own good (Ps 94:12-13).  Saints and believers have learned vital lessons from such afflictions.  For one, they would have obtained insights of the relationship between their suffering with sinful behavior.  In times of illness they could well have experienced the love and tender care of their caregivers.  More likely they depended on family and friends who constitute the body of Christ. Physically and psychologically weakened they come to realize their limitations of their bodies, and  place their dependency upon a loving God.

In sickness these ailing persons become like gifts to all those who minister to them.  In their state of weakness they are living testimonies of what it means to be broken in Christ (1 Pet 4:12-16).  In their anguish the Lord gives them strength to show his love in the world.  These individuals are certainly outstanding Christians.  People most likely  recall the agony of family members, friends, and acquaintances while visiting hospitals and nursing homes.  These involved individuals joyfully embrace the Christian faith because they know that their victory has already been won through Jesus Christ, who willingly gave his life for us (1 Cor 15:57).

Praise for Creation

God made the first human beings Adam and Eve, all other created things, and they were good.  The first humans in whom he breathed life were formed of ordinary materials of the universe.  They were created in the image of God and given dominion over the fish of the sea, birds of the air, cattle, wild animals of the earth, and every creeping thing upon the earth (Gen 1:26-27).  Adam and Eve’s home was in the Garden of Eden where they were to take care of all these God-given gifts.  Concerning their nature of life and death, there was a covenant with God.  On breaking this covenant came a death sentence, toil, afflictions, and they were expelled from the garden.  Their children Cain and Abel became our ancestors, and their broken promises were passed down to us.

King David wrote, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visited him?” (Ps 8:4).  We were delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom 8:21).  For these blessings we must praise the Lord from the heavens, in the heights, praise all his angels, hosts, the “sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light.  Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens” (Ps 148:1-4).  With the Lord’s command they were all created.

Victor Hugo (1802–1885), a French poet, dramatist, and novelist said, “Involve all your soul in creation!”  What we must do is embrace the wonders of God’s creation.  Praise his name for his mighty works that are animate and inanimate and glorify him.  How wonderful is God!  “Back of every creation, supporting it like an arch, is faith.  Enthusiasm is nothing: it comes and goes.  But if one believes, then miracles occur,” wrote Henry Miller (1891–1980), a novelist.

Human Creation & Divinity

However, there’s a difference between human creation and that of the divine.  Miller explained, “The great joy of the artist is to become aware of a higher order of things, to recognize by the compulsive and spontaneous manipulation of his own impulses the resemblance between human creation and what is called ‘divine’ creation.”  Divine creation captures natural manifestations which grace our environment.  These exist in their glorious nature and impact us with sublime bedazzlement.

In Paradise Lost John Milton (1608–1647), an English poet captured the essence of God’s creation in this vivid description of light and darkness:

 

O goodness infinite, goodness immense!

That all this good of evil shall produce,

And evil turn to good; more wonderful

Than that which by creation first brought forth

Light out of darkness!

Through light we’re able to see clearly.  We can differentiate good deeds from bad.  These are some of God’s blessings and amazing gifts to mankind.  With this goodness and with these gifts we can mount to the summit of creation.  They tell us to have a time for contemplation and the amazing thing is, all creation is invited to honor and praise him.

 

 

 

God’s Precious Gifts

It’s good for us to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess 5:1), because God is good and his gift of love endures forever (1 Chr 16:43).  With joy and delight praise him with the harp (Ps 43:4).  Trust in God in whose Word we must praise (Ps 56:10).  He has performed great and awesome wonders for Israel whom he redeemed from Egypt (2 Sam 7:23).  God’s people will have plenty to eat until they are filled (Joel 2:26).  Of these things they will speak about his righteousness and praise him all day long (Ps 35:28).

With these gifts of God we glorify our Lord.  A Gospel singer and record producer Fred Hammond (b. 1960) said, “We sing inspirational songs, songs of praise and worship, and about how good and how big God is.  We are magnifying the Lord.”  God is mighty and good and we must praise him abundantly. St. Francis de Sales (1567–1622), a bishop of Geneva wrote, “Make friends with the angels, who though invisible are always with you.  Often invoke them, constantly praise them, and make good use of their help and assistance in all your temporal and spiritual affairs.”  Ascending to such spiritual realms God will always be with us, and guiding us to be at peace with him.

Look to God

Whosoever we are – regardless of our station in life, we must look to the Lord.  He’s the only true source of our existence and is our precious gift.  A sportscaster Ernie Harwell (1918–2010) acknowledged, “I praise the Lord here today.  I know all my talent and all my ability comes from him, and without him I’m nothing and I thank him for his great blessing.”  It takes a wise man or woman to know this truth about our Savior.  It’s true that without God we’re nothing.

Early Roman Catholic Church father and bishop of Caesarea, St. Basil (AD 329–379) said. “As we are baptized, so we profess our belief.   As we profess our belief, so also we offer praise.  As then baptism has been given to us by the Savior, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, so, in accordance with our baptism, we make the confession of the creed, and our doxology in accordance with our creed.”  These are unique gifts when we’re buried and raised with Christ.

Friends as Gifts

Friends too, are important gifts to us all.  They can build us up and break us down.  St. Teresa of Avila (1515–1582), a prominent Roman Catholic mystic wrote, “I had many friends to help me fall; but to rising again, I was so much left to myself, that I wonder how I was not always on the ground.  I praise God for His mercy; for it was He only Who stretched out His hand to me.  May He be blessed for ever!”  Many Christians know that only the gift of grace from a loving God would give us the assurance to stand in his presence.

God has empathy for us.  He’s always there and willing to help when our situation is desperate.  A Christian pastor and spiritual mentor Aiden Wilson Tozer (1897–1963) explained, “In almost everything that touches our everyday life on earth, God is pleased when we are pleased.  He wills that we be as free as birds to soar and sing our maker’s praise without anxiety.”  Knowing God is an indescribable gift, bringing joy to our hearts, and blessing our souls.  So reach out and receive the precious gifts of God.

The Power of the Holy Spirit

With Christians the power of the Holy Spirit is prominent.  Many do fellowship in the spirit and act according to divine commands from Almighty God, by holding the Scriptures to be authoritative.  Since Pentecost, Christians have been blessed by this outpouring.  This awareness brings overwhelming experiences often accompanied by visions of heaven. Living according to this life-giving spirit their utterances are inspired by God.  Being led by the spirit people walk in the light and are full of life.  Alexander Pope (1688–1744), an 18th-century English poet said, “To err is human; to forgive, divine.”  Those who walk in the spirit are quick to forgive.  Like Pope they realize life entails this forgiveness which comes with blessings.

Community Spirit

This power of the spirit brings about unifying bonds.  These are with other people during their lifetime.  These relationships are divinely sealed with friendships.  Many Christians form lasting bonds with their spouses.  But as members of the church they also devote themselves to pastoral outreach.  They exemplify what’s ideal between the liturgical center and the periphery of worshipers, and there’s a natural osmosis between the church’s hierarchy and parishioners.

In the church much thought goes into the role of the sacraments.  Every attempt is made to enhance a family’s life.  Young people learn about standards concerning what it means to date and be happily married.  Christians’ values are perpetuated as the foundation on which to build relationships inside and outside the church’s community.

The Messianic Age

The power of the spirit has ushered in the Messianic Age.  It brings with it the inspiration of the Gospel.  It’s the new age of blessings bestowed on every believer.  Being a new creation in Christ people are inspired by the spirit.  By their industriousness the church benefits from their talents.  Believers who experience the outpouring of faithfulness are inspired through these lights.  It isn’t unusual to hear Christians describe with hopeful joy that it feels like heaven on earth.

George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950), an English playwright wrote, “Imagination is the beginning of creation.  You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last create what you will.”  The Messianic Age is more than our imagination.  It’s a superb gift which has been freely given to every man, woman and child concerning how they must open their hearts to the Lord.

Harvest of Mankind

Our salvation is guaranteed.  It’s what God has completed on the cross.  This state is the seed of divine life open to everyone who seeks Christ.  It begins with the circumcision of the heart, frees us from the liberation of legalisms, and it’s a gift of charity.  As people live they will have renewed encounters with the Risen Christ.  As holy people they will be defending the Christian traditions in a broken world.  Being baptized Christians they are the natural followers of Christ.  Og Mandino (1923–1996), an author said, “Always do your best.  What you plant now, you will harvest later.”  Be sure to sow good seed for your harvest will be plentiful.  Be fishers of men for the Lord because you’re assured your catch will be abundant.

Our Political Culture

Love ought to transcend politics and political parties.  Human beings regardless of their classes, creeds, ideologies and races should be viewed as equals.  Whites, African Americans, Asians and Native Americans won’t be just viewed as voting blocks to be wooed, but rather by what they desire, and that ought to be the business of politicians.  Debates about the environment, the role of religion in public life, and the future of families will always be part of the public dialogue.  Health issues, emotional, physiological, and psychological that may cripple us, must be balanced, and these problems addressed.

There are some things we must focus on when considering the elections of politicians.  Listen to what Charity Sunshine Tillemann-Dick (b. 1983), a soprano, composer and presenter said, “Perhaps we should worry less about judging people for being Mormon or Baptist or Muslim or gay or straight or black or white or Latino or by their religious or political brands and worry more about electing thoughtful, serious and ethical politicians on both sides of the political [a]isle who are willing to work together for progress.”  We’re the voters who make these decisions.  It’s you and me.  Can it be said then that we end up getting who we vote for, and not necessarily the best candidates?

Politicians & Inspiration

Politicians are able to show their positive side when they visit sick people, attend churches, and tour retirement homes.  These are the moments when they touch lives positively.  But when they support unjust wars, face accusations of embezzling funds, and disgraced by having bad morals many of us are turned off by them.  Billy Graham (1918–2018), an evangelical Baptist minister explained, “When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.”  On the other hand when politicians accentuate the positives of life their statures grow in the public’s eye.

That’s why it’s so necessary for politicians to appeal to their constituents positively.  As Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), a founding father of the United States said, “Tell me and I forget.  Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn.”  Politicians must not only present their plans effectively, but they ought to be teachers instructing us about public issues.  Through them citizens will be able to separate “facts” from “fiction,” and “truths” from “half-truths.”  Messages from politicians rely on the timeliness, spontaneity, and the effectiveness of the media.

Doing What’s Right

If politicians fall from grace it’s for them to come clean, and not continue to conceal the details of their indiscretions.  As co-creators it’s for them to build up communities, and protect us from evil.  We don’t want to witness other Watergate experiences in America, or in other societies around the world.  Politicians must be able to talk to us, think about issues, and to legislate sensible policies.  That’s why it’s important that they must be truthful.  When they stress the negatives, nothing is more damning than for people to have negative results – “curses” as opposed to “blessings.”

Tommy Smothers (b. 1937), a comedian, composer and musician said, “The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen.”  Politicians are in positions to present voters with a variety of dishes.  These may be the best political entrees possibly, but it’s still up to the voters to decide whether we’ll taste their offerings.  People will accept what’s right to them.  We who believe in democratic processes hope our decisions are right most of the time.  And even if we make mistakes, the Lord promises that the Holy Spirit will work all things – good and bad, for our good.

Our Pioneer of Salvation

Jesus Christ is the pioneer of our salvation.  He’s our Savior from any danger, distress or bondage.  Because of him we’ve received blessings, joy, and know that we’re saved. In him we’re assured of living a resurrected life under his Lordship.  Here we’ll have glory through his grace.  He has filled us with the power of the Holy Spirit because we’re sons and daughters of the Most High.  We’ve been emancipated and sanctified from evil which has befallen us.  As a result we’re blessed with the promise of eternal life.

Tom Brokaw (b. 1940), a TV journalist, and author said, “I think people of my generation became journalists – you know, right after the broadcast pioneer fathers – because we wanted to report the big stories.”  Brokaw was obviously explaining how pioneers influenced some journalists’ decision in pursuing their careers.  Nevertheless the biggest story for Christians is about the pioneer of salvation, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Pressures of the World

It’s all what Christ accomplished on the Cross at Calvary that has made his work a bastion against disease, suffering, and death.  No longer must we fear afflictions, because Christ is our healer, and there’s a purpose for everything under the sun.  He’s our fort against natural and unnatural disasters.  We’ve witnessed God’s forgiveness and wrath.  Some however continue to live in ignorance about the truth of eternal life haunted by demons, and the fear of hell.  But Jesus Christ understands our dilemma, and is willing to free us from our folly.

Helen Thomas (1920–2013), an opinion columnist wrote, “We don’t go into journalism to be popular.  It is our job to seek the truth and put constant pressure on our leaders until we get answers.”  If it’s all about finding answers, people must turn to Jesus Christ as the most reliable source.  In every matter, he’s the epitome of truth.  It’s good to be blessed by the Holy Spirit in knowing what’s right and true.

Bondage of Futility

 In our world some people are living defeated lives.  They are subject to oppression, social degradation, and want basic necessities.  They have turned to political leaders for deliverance, but often end up disappointed. From the news they have witnessed disappointment when it comes to solving economic and social problems.  There’s alienation of the races in finding solutions about racial harmony.  Some voters are at each other throats and might have given up on the system.  But the Prince of Peace is alive and well, and he’s eager to intervene if we’ll only let him.

Nelson Mandela (1918–2013), president of South Africa said, “We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination.”  These words from Mandela – as praiseworthy as they are, desire the commitment of those aligned with Christ.  Still there’s much that we don’t understand about people’s motives.  Some live in bondage for all sorts of reasons, but it takes works of faith, and a belief in God to set people free.

Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865), the 16th president of the United States said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”  Jesus “fully man and God” passed this test.  It’s for us to emulate him, and follow our only pioneer of salvation for eternity.  He’s the glorious and outstanding model deserving of our love, praise and glory.

 

Missionaries & Their Service

Whether black, white, Asian, or Hispanic, people are people, so why not make a difference in their lives?  Many speak the same language, but some argue they speak different languages. Be it English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Hindi, or Japanese, but does it really matter which language they speak?  They are definitely one in Christ even if they communicate in their native dialect.  To identify with a particular group often politicians will say a few words in their language, but do they really understand them?  This may happen especially during an election year when we see candidates making pitches to specific blocks of voters.  It may be at synagogue by speaking a few Hebrew words, rubbing shoulders with rabbis, and trying to convince Jewish folk they know about their culture.

But regardless who these people are, it’s good for them to know who they really are.  Steve Jobs (1955–2011), a pioneer of the personal computer revolution said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone’s life.  Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.  And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”  A measure of what people become is what they keep coming back to, reminding them to take that next step in pursuing their dreams.  This is true, for their conscience keeps telling them to invest in a particular ministry.

Making a Connection

Some people – young and old alike, make decisions to join the Peace Corps.  While others participate in a Fulbright programs to Asian, African, or South American countries.  They live with the natives, teaching them to plant crops, build wells, and construct homes.  They teach English as a foreign language in their schools.  Missionaries are involved in outreach programs to villages, while working alongside different ethnic groups in remote areas.  By so doing they are fulfilling Christ’s mission in bringing the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

Interestingly Maya Angelou (1928–2014), an author, and poet wrote, “The thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud.  Somebody who may not look like you.  May not call God the same name you call God – if they call God at all.  I may not dance your dances or speak your language.  But be a blessing to somebody.  That’s what I think.”  Angelou explained in her own way the missionary service we’re taught to do as believing Christians.

Non-Verbal Contact

To begin understanding people call for more than being able to master the spoken word.  It comes through the Holy Spirit who works in diverse ways.  People also communicate with their eyes and bodies.  Missionaries can see these in natives who seek their help.  With good interpersonal communication barriers are broken down.  But we all have one spirit in common.  It doesn’t matter if a person is a Westerner dressed in fashionable clothes, or a beggar in rags.  It’s the Holy Spirit who dismantles communication barriers.

Barbara Bush (b. 1925), a former first lady of the United States said, “Cherish your human connections – your relationships with friends and family.”  With God each human is a friend and a family member.  It doesn’t matter if they live in a small Guyanese town like Ituni, or a faraway place like Timbuktu.  In building up the body of Christ volunteers would come to know like Albert Einstein (1879–1955), a German-born theoretical physicist that “the only source of knowledge is experience.”  As Christians these missionaries bring their experiences to the building blocks of life, and knowledge to make the world a better place to live, paving the way for mankind’s eternal future.