Posted by Rodger Woodworth

Mother Teresa when asked about her call to the poor said she wasn’t called to the poor but she was called to follow Jesus who led her to the poor.  As we follow Jesus I am convinced He will lead us to the “others,” the outsiders, the minorities, those different then us in culture and ethnicity and in the process we will rediscover a greater expression of God’s Kingdom whose joy will transform us and others.

Jesus’ tells two very short parables in Matthew 13:44-46.  One is about a field hand, the other about a merchant.  The first is probably a peasant working for a wealthy landowner and while plowing the field he turns up a box of coins.  So the field hand sells everything he has in order to buy the field containing the valuable coins.  The discovery of the valuable coins causes his actions.  The merchant is probably a man of more significant wealth as he is in the business of buying pearls.  But he too invests everything he has in order to possess these pearls of great price and his discovery, likewise, causes his actions.  Jesus says that both the coins and the pearls are like the Kingdom of Heaven and the discovery of it caused the men to act.  They were literally carried away by their joy.  Fredrick Dale Bruner in his commentary on Matthew says, “The point, expanded, is this: joy is the engine of change”. [1] The discovery transformed the lives of the peasant field hand and the wealthy merchant forever, having sold everything to buy the new reality.  Neither the field hand nor the merchant was told to do anything, the treasure tells it all.  The discovery of God’s Kingdom brings joyous responses not joyless duties.

However, the joy of the discovery is diminished when the true multi-cultural nature of God’s Kingdom is not revealed.  When our ministries remain homogenous (the same) and exclude the heterogeneity (the other) of God’s Kingdom we hinder our mission of transforming culture.  Cross cultural ministry actually enhances the transformation process by discovering a fuller picture of God’s multi-ethnic Kingdom.  We need to rediscover a new reality of God’s Kingdom in our world; a reality which opens the door to change our city, our college campuses and our church community.  It is a reality found in scripture and the person of Jesus and experientially when divergent sides of God’s people seek it together, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

[1] Fredrick Dale Bruner, Matthew, A Commentary, Vol. 2 (Dallas, TX: Word Publishing, 1990), 511.