Are we guilty of wearing ‘blinders’? Have you ever seen a horse with blinders? No doubt they are put on the horse to keep his eyes focused straight ahead. There may be many valuable uses for the blinders. But what happens in our churches and in our own personal lives when we are blinded by our preferences and our prejudices from seeing the opportunity before us to touch the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Most of us are familiar with the story of Pentecost in Acts 2. On that occasion the Bible tells us that there are people from all the nations of the world present in Jerusalem, and they each hear the Gospel in their heart language. Some of us are part of churches that are located in communities with people from all around the world. Will they hear the Gospel?
I have been a participant in a conference in our denomination for the past couple of days. Yesterday we went out on excursions into our community. The group that I was with visited a middle eastern grocery store, attended prayer services at a local mosque, and ate at a Middle eastern restaurant. Others visited Hindu temples, Indian restaurants, and other ethnic places. As we shared our experiences, our small groups going out into the community discovered 28 different people groups from around the world.
One of the men I met was from Mali, where I have spent a significant amount of time over the last 7 years. He was from the Soninke people group, an ethnic group that I spent a week living among several years ago. Another man I met was from Senegal, and a part of the Wolof people group. A good friend of mine has spent a lot of hours flying into Senegal to encounter this people group, and here they are right in our own neighborhoods. 28 different people groups from around the world.
I had an incredible experience visiting a grocery store. Several of us were admiring the “turkish delights”, some candy, in different packaging. One of the store managers grabbed a handful and distributed them to us to sample. This man was from Lebanon. Another Turkish man invited us to sample the olives. (I love olives, and this were amazing).
I have lived in Columbia for 35 years, and honestly, while I had some suspicions, I never really knew that there were so many ethnic groups from around our world right here. I wear my “blinders” every day so that I do not see people. What about you? Do you wear blinders? Some of the people we met are less than a stone’s throw from a church. Two different people groups were manicuring the lawn of our denominational headquarters. People who have the insider’s opportunity to carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Who is your neighbor? Do you care? Will you take your blinders off?
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