For the past six weeks my wife and I, have caught a microscopic view of this awe-inspiring scripture in Revelations 7:9. We just completed a six weeks community class requested at a local church in the metroplex. The class was unique in every sense, with men, women, old and young from different countries. The focus of the class was two-fold. First to orient the participants to way of life in America and secondly to introduce them to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The last day of class was moving in every sense as each participant shared what they learned through the class, how they are growing in their new environment, how we have blessed them and presented us with a gift certificate. It was moving because, we were actually the blessed ones and not the other way around. We were fortunate to see the transformation God privileged us to partake of. We were blessed to be called and chosen for the task. We were blessed to have been able to sow eternally into their lives. We were blessed to be a part of what God is doing in their hearts and lives. We were blessed for the connection and relationship developed. There were things my wife and I in turned learned from them. Beloved brothers and sisters, I believe you will find some of these things enlightening.
Here are three fascinating things from the class:
1. Giving a thumbs up: We have all used this highly recognized gesture as a sign of agreement and approval one time or the other; especially in our American culture. However, this same sign of agreement or approval if used in Bangladesh is an offensive sign of insult. Our participant from Bangladesh oriented the class on this.
2. Punctuality: Time is very important around the world. However, the degree of importance varies from culture to culture. In the Middle East and some Latin American countries, time is fluid. If a 10 a.m. meeting is called, it is not unusual to have people show up at 11 a.m. or even 12:00 noon. As an American, you would arrive on time and bring something to do while you wait for the meeting to start when there is a quorum. Our participants from Argentina and Lebanon shared about punctuality in class.
3. Absolute norms: In Japan, there are norms that are non-negotiable. One such is blowing one’s nose in the public. If you were in Japan, you would be expected to go to a private area or the restroom to blow your nose, as stated by our Japanese participant in the class.
The class re-emphasized, the truth of Revelations 7:9. It affirms the truth of God’s creation from every nation, every tribe, every people group and every language. The class refreshes the hope of eternity with a great multitude from every nation worshipping our risen Lord. The class authenticates the beauty of God’s diverse creation. It authenticates the uniqueness of every soul created by God and the need for camaraderie.
Dear brothers and sisters, my challenge to us is one of intentionality. Seek out to know and develop a relationship with someone from another culture this week. We- the body of Christ- we are the light and salt of the world. Let’s be intentional about sharing Jesus, His amazing grace and His love.
For The Cause of Christ,
Dr. Johnson Obamehinti