Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me. 12 Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel. -I Corinthians 14:11, 12 (NKJV)
Recently I was having lunch in a new restaurant which opened nearby. As I was standing by the buffet, a waitress approached me and asked me a question. The problem was I could not seem to comprehend what she was saying. I smiled and said, “Excuse me?” She smiled back and in her soft and accented voice repeated the question. I still didn’t get it. Now, in a case like this we have two options: Ask one more time for clarification or smile and pretend to understand. I figure the first option is a bad idea, seeing how I didn’t understand on the first two tries the odds of comprehending the third time are small. So, I went with the second choice. I smiled, nodded knowingly, and said, “Thanks, I’m fine.”
I later considered how nice it would be if I could speak this young lady’s language. I could have asked for clarification in her language and the communication barrier would have immediately been broken. I encounter this situation often when out in public. I hear people speaking around me in a language other than English and I think what a blessing it would be if I knew their language. I could then perhaps engage them in conversation and share with them the love of Jesus Christ. My friends, what will be our response to all the people coming to America from other nations and residing in our communities? Will we resent them, or will we make an effort to reach out to them in the name of Jesus? The high call of God in Christ Jesus compels us to take the latter stance.
Jesus said we are to be His witnesses; in our towns, our states, across the nation, and around the world (Acts 1:8). Evangelism is to be a top priority for the church, and it begins in the local community. For a number of years now I have had in my heart a desire to learn Spanish so I might be able to minister to the many Spanish speaking people in my community. Countless missionaries have undertaken this challenge and have traveled to other countries to share the gospel with others. We have the opportunity to practice evangelism and do missions outreach right here at home in our own towns and cities.
Jesus encouraged us to look around, for the fields are indeed ready for the harvest (Matthew 9:37, 38). Let us pray the Lord would empower us to be involved in the ongoing effort to reach others for Jesus Christ.