Thinking Globally About Our Mission
My first encounter with global thinking occurred in the fourth grade when our class did a mural of the countries of Europe. Each student was assigned a different country. We were to draw something on the mural representing the country. I was given Holland. I drew children my age ice skating and walking among the flowers and windmills of Holland. As I drew, I was struck how much we were alike and had in common.
Years later, I was drafted into the army and deployed to Thailand for just over two years. My first impression arriving in Thailand was how different it was. The geography, smells, food, and culture were different. But after a year or so and making many local friends, I was struck by how much we had in common as well. Thinking globally for me was noticing and being impressed about the idea of the world as a large human family, with more similarities than differences. A few years after leaving the Army, I joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I learned about the world Church, made up of people from every nation. I heard expressions like “the family of God,” and “all God’s children.”
A few years later, I entered the ministry and eventually ended up in the Oklahoma Conference. A friend of mine, a fellow pastor, invited me to go on a mission trip to Mexico. I joined him and approximately 20 others to help finish a church building project, conduct VBS, do community service, and conduct evangelistic meetings. We went door-to-door in the community visiting people. Our mission was to discover their needs and invite them to our programs. We gave away blankets, food, and clothing. We became close to the people and shed tears when we left to go home. I was so moved by the experience that I continued going to Mexico for 10 more years with mission teams. I discovered the experience of serving brothers and sisters outside of our country changes you. I continued to notice more the similarities I have with people of other cultures than the differences.
I had a practical experience of what the apostle Paul said in Acts 17:26: “God hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell upon the earth….” He also wrote in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, bond, nor free, male or female, for ye are all one in Christ.” Yes, there are differences of culture, social class, and gender. However, the common bond we have as children of our Creator and being redeemed by the blood of Christ, give us equal worth and importance. The devil’s plan is to have us focus on our differences in order to divide us. The Holy Spirit’s work is to bring us together. Working together and serving one another defeats the enemy. It makes us more like our Creator who was thinking not globally, but universally. Jesus became human to show us our common bond with Him. He gave His life in service and death to unite us once more with our heavenly family. Then He said, “Go into all the world and do likewise.” Amen.