There is something rooted in the the heart of God that loves diversity, that loves to bridge gaps, that generously loves people that are quite unlike Himself. For this is the reason He sent His son, is it not? Jesus became a man to bridge the gap of sin between divinity and humanity. He literally left the ease of Heaven, put himself into the “foreign” culture of the world to invite us into relationship with Father God and a Kingdom that unlike anything we’ve ever known. Jesus is the finest cross-cultural ambassador the world has ever seen! But this generous love and compelling desire to bless others, particularly the international and the foreigner, didn’t start with Jesus nor did it end with him either…
Since the earliest of Biblical days, God has drawn men, women and families unto himself, blessed them to make them into agents of blessing for the rest of the community and world. When God first called and blessed Abraham, He desired to do more than simply give him a “good life” filled with good things.
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you…and you will be a blessing…and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
God’s intentions for Abraham and his family line were greater than their own advancement. He never intended the blessing to stop with them. It was to go to the nations of the earth!
Further on down the road God exults the nation of Israel, not merely for their own glory, but rather to be a light and blessing to the ethnic groups around them, that they also would know and glorify the Living God and be blessed just as Israel had been blessed. Furthermore, God instituted social structures and laws that entitled internationals to justice, charity and truth even on par with structures to help widows and orphans in the nation (Dt 1:16, 14:28-29, 16:10-11, 13-14). In several places in scripture God commands the Israelites to love foreigners:
“God defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt” (See also Leviticus 19:34).
Consider God’s adoption of Rahab and Ruth into the family line of Jesus. Even the prophets of Israel were at times sent to bless foreigners such as Elijah to the widow, Elisha to the Syrian ruler, and Jonah to the city of Nineveh (Luke 4:24-27).
When thumbing through these pages of Scripture I am always amazed at God’s extravagant love of all peoples, tribes and languages. This Book is consistently revealing His desire to bless all people and draw them unto himself!
The other thing I see constantly reinforced in Scripture is God’s persistence in getting His people to reach out and be the agents of His mission! God is 100% sold to the idea that blessing the world should be done through you and I. We are purposed to reflect God’s character and holy desires. His character is humble, loving, generous and true. His desire is for all nations, all peoples to be blessed in knowing Him!
Consider Jesus’ “farewell” speech:
“All authority has been given unto me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” (Mat 28:18-19)“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
God is commissioning you and I as his ambassadors to represent His love and share His story with the world across the street. We are blessed and empowered to bless and empower others. Not just to our own families in our own culture, but the families of every culture, tribe and tongue. Living in the Raleigh/Durham area makes this fairly simple. The whole world seems to live here. Talk to your neighbor, she may be from India. Speak to your taxi driver, he’s probably from Ethiopia. Invite some students into your home through iMIX, they are from China and Thailand. Let us bless them, for we’ve been blessed. Let us share, for we’ve been shared with. Let’s love them as God so loved us.
-- David Stremic
David Stremic is a graduate of Belmont University in Nashville, TN with a degree in social entrepreneurship. He attended the ministry school of Campus Harvest and has come on staff with King’s Park as a campus minister working at NC State University. In 2011, David helped launch iMIX, an international student ministry to serve international students and scholars in the triangle area.