The Global Community
Pastor Darrell Johns
On March 10, 2019, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 departed Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in Ethiopia on a 724-mile flight to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya. One minute into the flight, electronic abnormalities appeared. Two minutes, and then three minutes, into the flight, pilots and crew members tried desperately to rectify the issues to no avail. The plane continued to lose altitude and then disappeared from radar. Six minutes into the journey, Flight 302 impacted earth at 700 miles per hour, creating a giant crater.
Mangled pieces of wreckage littered the ground everywhere, along with the charred personal belongings of passengers and crew. There were 157 souls from 30 nations onboard the flight. They were Kenyans, Canadians, Chinese, Ethiopians, Italians, French, British, Egyptians, Indians, Slovakians, and others. There were no survivors
News stories were clear to point out that, among the dead, eight of the victims were Americans. The articles allocated precious space to list their names and the circumstances that led some of them to be on that ill- fated flight.
Let me ask you a question. If 157 people died, why did their national origin matter? The answer is simple. News writers know that we are more likely to feel the emotion of a story if we can relate to the victims. We care more and have an affinity with those who are “us.” The tragedy hits closer to our hearts when the victims are closer to home. We more deeply feel the loss of people from our culture, who share a common space on the globe. But, should it be this way? As followers of Jesus, shouldn’t we care about all God’s children, regardless of their culture? Should we, like the Apostle Paul, feel a sense of spiritual debt to those from any community as if it were our own? (See Romans 1:14.)
When we look at a person who is vastly different from us, we may only see their skin color, hear their accent or disengage because they do not speak our language. We may struggle to understand their customs or culture. We may just write them off as not being “reachable” or even interested in the Gospel. It is difficult to lead them to holy ground when there seems to be very little common ground. However, that is what missions is all about. That is what the coming of Jesus was all about. (See Philippians 2:5-8.) Missions means leaving our comfort zone and venturing into another culture. It may mean walking across the street or flying across the globe. It always means giving of our material means to support those who give the most and go the furthest. The Gospel of Jesus Christ shared with the love of God make reaching the global community possible.
Jesus was intentional about reaching across the cultural aisle. He had conversations that led to conversions with people of different genders, races, social strata, and moral conditions. Jesus crossed the cultural gulf to redeem deplorable sinners. When we celebrate our salvation, we should also remember that Jesus Christ did not come to save our corner of the world alone. John wrote, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:2).
We are all citizens of the global community. The Bible is clear about our origins as one family; “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26). We are inextricably bound together by bonds of blood as the descendants of Adam and Eve. In the church, we are all fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. (See Ephesians 2:19.) In Heaven, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb is not going to be a community cookout. It will include an innumerable multitude of people from all nations, tribes, people, and tongues. We will all be clothed in white robes—symbols of righteousness—and will all have palm branches in our hands—symbols of victory. (See Revelation 7:9.) This means that the power of the Gospel will have made this diverse group of people free from sin and victorious over the power of Satan. All of us, for all eternity, will be family and citizens of the Heavenly community. Heaven will be an eternal community made up of people from all over the globe.
As we prepare for our annual World Missions Conference, it is important that we understand our mission as a church. We are called to reach every citizen of the global community. In order to more closely connect us with the cause, during the conference, we will be blessed by the ministries of Rema Duncan, a North American Missionary to Chicago, Illinois, and J. S. Leaman, a life-long missionary leader. On Sunday, October 27, we each will be provided an opportunity to present our Faith Promise commitments for the coming year. Please be prayerful and discuss your commitment with your family. Think carefully about the people on our planet who need a Savior. Would you give generously and then go into their world to reach them with the Gospel? Together, we are part of one big global community, and every person of any culture is a soul worth saving. Let’s pray for and reach out to our global community.