Making A Difference With Those Who Are Different
“There is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:11).
Have you ever wondered why in America we have black churches, and Chinese churches, and Korean churches, and Hispanic churches, and white churches? Why is it that our churches only seem to reflect people of similar ethnic background?
We need more ministry to minorities, especially from ethnic groups to their own ethnic groups. In today’s passage the Apostle Paul famously said that, “Christ is all, and in all.” In Christ we are all one. The basis of our salvation and sanctification is not based on race or cultural heritage, but on the person and work of Christ. But might it surprise you to learn that even Paul needed people around him of his own cultural heritage? Even the great Apostle Paul needed to be ministered to by his fellow Jews.
In the same book of Colossians, Paul also said, “Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him), and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me” (Colossians 4:10-11). “Men of the circumcision” was a way of saying, “Jews.” Yet, noticed what he said about them. They gave him great, “Comfort.”
Paul was comforted in his affliction by his own people. It does not mean he didn’t receive comfort from gentiles, but that the comfort of his own people held a special place in his heart.
Every missionary has experienced this. Working among people so different from them, most missionaries value time spent with other missionaries who are of their own heritage. And this is true for more than just missionaries, but for everyone. Perhaps you have too? This is why we must make room in our hearts for minorities ministering to minorities and for ethnic churches ministering to their own. Just like Paul, it is not only Christian, it is human.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 3:28).
Have you looked for opportunities to minister to ethnic groups apart from your own? How can you express love and devotion to people who are of a different culture or ethnicity that you? How can you encourage people like you who minister to people different than you?