Traveling to other countries can be fun, educational, and traumatic; especially when you volunteer to operate a vehicle in that country. I have been to Jamaica (British), Canada, Israel, Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea. I can tell you that some insist on driving on the “wrong” side of the road. On one occasion, I rented a car, while vacationing in Jamaica, where the steering wheel was on the right-hand side. Surprisingly, I adapted quickly, resulting in a minimal amount of carnage!
That brings me to the topic for this month. We are involved in other people’s lives at work, and many of whom are not believers. Therefore, trying to explain the Gospel in practical every-day language can be like asking people to drive in Japan. It is unfamiliar, confusing to their way of thinking, and requires someone who is knowledgeable to take them through the process.
The Holy Spirit is My GPS
A person in a foreign country must adjust to its ways and systems. In fact, even in our OWN country, there are many rumors, half-truths, and outright lies about other parts of the country. These folks are then surprised when they find citizens from other parts totally unlike what they’ve heard. The vivid truth only comes out when we experience personal contact with those people:
- I once visited a Christian church in Nagoya, Japan during a trip. The employees at the hotel counter had a difficult time finding a church, but eventually did. I had to take two different Japanese streetcars, for about 12 blocks. Then I had to disembark, and walk another 10 blocks to the small church. When I arrived, everyone hugged me! I didn’t have time to even introduce myself. The Holy Spirit did it for me! I was the only Caucasian there, but as Christians we all travel the same road to the cross. It doesn’t matter whether we get there on the left side or the right side.
- In mixed families where divorce, adoption, tragedy, or immaturity create multi-ethnic mini-cultures, there are going to be adjustments. Even in “traditional” families, parents wonder where a particular child came from! I know my brother looks nothing like me. Yet we did not only travel the same road growing up, we both went where the blood of Christ cleansed us from sin.
We eventually see that it really doesn’t matter what side of the vehicle we drive from. The ROAD is what we have in common. And we need to provide the right character, valid personality and compassion to know every decision we make has eternal consequences. It’s our obedience to the Holy Spirit that will guide people through us.
“Lord, keep our vision on you, no matter what “side” we’re on. In Christ’s Name. Amen.”