Recently, I found myself doing what many of you did as well quickly adapting to the changing environment outside. Suddenly, summer arrived, and so did the heat.
After lunch, I chose to work in the shade, and I often went into the house to enjoy the blessing of cool, conditioned air. Why? I was facing a different environment in which to do my work. Nothing had changed in me, and my tasks remained the same, but I had to adapt to the environmental changes of the day.
What is interesting is that I did it without worrying about how it would affect me. Actually, my thoughts were about what might prevent me from working if I didn’t adapt to the weather.
Why do I share this “ordinary life event” with you? Because, as simple as it sounds, this is what the church needs to be like, as well.
We have a mission. Christ commands us to share the gospel with our world. It is the same mission the apostle Paul accepted and dedicated himself to.
Jesus wants us to be serious about seeking lost people. He wants us to be like Paul and “become all things to men” so that they might see Christ and accept Him. To the Jew, Paul became like a Jew; to the slave, he became like a slave; to the weak, he became weak so that he might save some.
Paul chose to know his environment, the people in his world, so that he could present the gospel in ways they could understand and respond to. The mission has not changed, but the environment has.
As a church, it is critical for us to “see” the environment we live in, and adapt so that the Good News can be understood by people in our world, so they can understand the gospel by the words we choose to use and by the way we live among them.
It means that we must seek to know and understand the ways of people of different cultures, to know and understand the life issues of friends who come from broken relationships, to know and understand life’s demands and pressures for today’s youth, and the frustrations and barriers that exist for those who are challenged physically or socially.
Sometimes, it will mean that we need to change our words, our prejudices, and our network of relationships. Like Paul, we are called to do this for a very specific purpose: “so that by all possible means we might save some.”
Please set aside time each day to reflect on the current environment in which we live and join with your Christian brothers and sisters in seeking how we can become “all” for Christ.