Our family often had the nations around our table as our children grew up. We loved the cultural examples each one brought to us. I remember in particular a couple from Zimbabwe who we invited from a local college for Thanksgiving. In the middle of the meal the wife told us, “You throw away the best parts of the turkey.” We all had a great laugh because we do not eat the head, liver or the feet of a turkey. But we desired our children to know and understand that every life is valuable to God and His design for them. God’s kingdom is a kingdom of nations and nations represent people.
Proverbs 12 tells us, “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” What does your tongue bring to those around you, your co-workers and your acquaintances? I am personally challenged by my thoughts (not often spoken, but still thought) that do not think the best of others or those thoughts which do not give those different from me the benefit of the doubt. To have the privilege of traveling the world and to experience different cultures is enlightening, while at the same time difficult to not think comparatively, i.e., my culture vs. their culture.
I can remember being invited to a wedding in Central America that was to begin at 11:00 AM. My wife and I were there and ready for the ceremony to begin at ten minutes before eleven o’clock. The funny thing was, no one else was there other than a few people who were setting up. I had my wife recheck the invitation and sure enough it said 11:00 AM. The wedding actually began sometime after noon. It was our introduction to a significant cultural difference. It wasn’t wrong, just different. Our North American mindsets needed to be desensitized so that we could accept the cultural norms of another nation.
How creative of God…warm cultures, cold cultures, on time cultures, fashionably late cultures, brash and bold cultures…all to His honor and glory, All cultures representing differing characteristics and attributes of the nature of a loving Father. Did you know the word nations is found in the Bible 564 times? In the book of Revelation, chapter 21 reveals, “The glory and the honor of the nations will be brought into it [The New Jerusalem].” The nations will be represented in that new city.
Thank you, Lord, for Your patience with us, our lack of understanding and proverbial comparisons. How You love the nations!