My husband and I live walking distance from a busy beach city’s boardwalk. Every Spring, hundreds of foreign students come to staff the oceanfront’s restaurants, hotels and shops. Turks, Chinese, Russians, Moldovans, Ukrainians, Malaysians…places far from here and cultures incredibly different from ours.
What students understand about American culture seems very fractured. Many are well read and acquainted with the likes of Mark Twain, Hemingway and Emily Dickinson and are hungry consumers of American television: The Walking Dead, Desperate Housewives and House of Cards (to name a few shows). What they understand about Christ and Christianity is limited, but for many that doesn’t mean that they don’t think deeply about God, who or what He is and what is the purpose of their existence.
Last Monday, my husband and I took three Asian students on a field trip of sorts. When we visited the old church at Jamestown, one of the girls surprised me as she quietly sat down, bowed her head and folded her hands to pray. Later when asked, she said she was praying but as to whom, she was unsure. I listened as she shared a little of her story and where she was in getting to know God. As the day went on, I shared with her some of the reasons why I follow Christ. I hope that our friendship is one more way that Jesus calls her into a relationship with him.
Paul is adamant that when interacting with others, it is not about me and my goodness. Gratitude and humility are vital to our relationship with God and others. “So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” Romans 2:3-4.
Lord, May I be a stepping stone for others to meet you? I confess having been a bit of a proud know-it-all sometimes as I have shared my faith in you. Give me listening ears and a humble heart. May my story be about you and your goodness. Amen