All Things to All People

Adam Kotanko

April 18th, 2017 @ 8:43 am

The story reads like it’s straight out of today’s newscast: a Middle Eastern family is driven from their homeland by a bloodthirsty tyrant. The family lives in poverty as refugees, only returning home when the despot dies, and his son takes over. The refugee family’s children grow up, and one of the sons is persecuted and brutally murdered by power-hungry religious leaders.

That would be the end of the story, except that the murdered Son didn’t stay dead, and His resurrection changed the world.

The story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is an international one. At a time when nations wrestle with immigration policies, Jesus’ life and the spread of His teachings reminds us of the transcendent nature of the gospel. Jesus taught Samaritans and worked miracles for Roman soldiers. His disciples baptized Ethiopians, preached to Greeks and spread God’s love to China and India. The Apostle Paul traveled around the Mediterranean preaching Christ, a missionary journey that helped spread Christianity to Europe. From there, it jumped to the Americas many centuries later.

Like Jesus and His disciples, we are called to live a gospel that transcends all human barriers. That doesn’t mean ripping up our passports or immigrating to Timbuktu (although if you’re interested in being a missionary there, give us a call). But it does mean that we should live with a constant awareness that every person we come in contact with, no matter how different from us, is a child of God. Not all of them know that, of course, and most—us included—don’t act like it all the time. But if we take Jesus’ life and teachings seriously, nothing—not nationality, race, gender, cultural background or any other of the myriad identifiers we use to define ourselves—should come before the childhood of all people in God’s family.

Paul said, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female” (Gal. 3:28). Paul was talking about the universal invitation of the gospel, and as his missionary journeys demonstrate, he made every effort to bring all people to Jesus.
Elsewhere, Paul said, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:22, 23).

Like Paul, AFM’s missionaries “become all things to all people . . . for the sake of the gospel.” Even as international travel becomes trickier, they find creative ways to cross national and cultural boundaries to share Jesus with people who otherwise wouldn’t hear about Him.

Will you consider supporting AFM as we share God’s love around the world? Will you pray for the missionaries in the field? Could you give to our GO Fund, which provides all our missionaries with financial, training and communication support so they can focus on sharing the gospel? Might you even consider becoming a missionary yourself, crossing borders to introduce Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and others to the Father whom they don’t know?

Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21). I invite you this week to invest in Jesus and to invite others to do the same. Live the gospel by seeing fellow adoptees to God’s family in everyone you meet. Draw them to the God you serve.