The politics of waving
I walk a lot on a country road, so I do a lot of waving at passersby. Everyone waves back, but not in the same way. Some nonchalantly lift their hands. Others wave enthusiastically. A few folks are hesitant, like they aren’t sure I am waving at them, but no one else is on the road. And there is the rural salute—an index finger lifted smartly off the steering wheel of a pickup. I should try to wave at people the way they like to wave at me.
There are over seven billion of us on the planet. God equipped us to interact with each other in many ways, and it’s a delicate dance. It is necessary to respect other’s mannerisms to build a relationship with them and introduce them to Jesus, who is everyone’s friend. Paul of Tarsus was an educated Jew and Roman citizen. He traveled Europe and Asia, bringing the gospel to people different from him. He adapted. “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22). For the sake of the gospel, he became what people needed him to be.
The nations are migrating to our neighborhoods. Our missionary journey is a short stroll down the street. There are newcomers in cities and the countryside. If we want to become all things to all people for the sake of the gospel, something about us will have to give.
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