by Jill Lienemann, Kesher International Missions | ©2011
I don’t own a skirt! Do I still have to hide my tattoo if it is a Christian symbol? But it’s going to be hot so why can’t I wear shorts? I am never surprised when these types of comments and questions come up during pre-trip training. At least one team member, if not more, wants special dispensation from the cultural restrictions established for ministering internationally.
Perhaps, this is the day you will have to dress according to the customs of the country. Maybe it’s removing jewelry from various body parts, putting on a long-sleeved shirt to cover tattoos, wearing a below-the-knee skirt, or donning pants instead of jeans. You groan out loud expressing your inward discomfort at having to yield to archaic traditions. There’s that word again, yield, meaning “to relinquish one’s possession of position of advantage or point of superiority.”
Jesus experienced the same situation. He put on clothes of a different culture in order to minister accordingly. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14a KJV). Christ willingly yielded His position of advantage so His mission objective could be successfully completed. “…[Christ Jesus] Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8 NIV)
“Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’” (Luke 9:22-24 NKJV) Therefore, following Jesus’ example, surrender your rights and privileges for the sake of ministering and seeing others come to God by saving grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8) Do so “…not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV)
KESHER PRAYER (connection): Oh Lord, thank You for exposing an area of my life that I need to surrender to You. “When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try [strive] to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:22 NLT)
Lord, “Your grace is sufficient for me, and Your power is made perfect in my weakness [yielding]. I am glad to boast about my weaknesses [submission of my will], so that the power of Christ can work through me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV, NLT) Amen.