Common ground

For KK

Interesting picture! One can only wonder what it must be like to dress like this; to live in a culture (in this case Chinese) that is radically different. I wonder, exactly what does go through the mind of one so radically different from myself. Actually, this sort of question must have been asked by the Apostle Paul as he strove to reach all those of the ancient world with the gospel of Jesus. Question: Just how does one go about reaching others anyway? This passage from Corinthians gives us some insight.

1Co 9:1-22 ESV
(1) Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord?
(2) If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
(3) This is my defense to those who would examine me.
(4) Do we not have the right to eat and drink?
(5) Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?
(6) Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living?
(7) Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?
(8) Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same?
(9) For it is written in the Law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain." Is it for oxen that God is concerned?
(10) Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop.
(11) If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?
(12) If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.
(13) Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings?
(14) In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.
(15) But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting.
(16) For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!
(17) For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship.
(18) What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.
(19) For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.
(20) To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law.
(21) To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.
(22) To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.

Paul was an unusual sort of person. But, he cared enough for others to try to find common ground with them, to reach them any way he could. I think a good start is to realize that we all have humanity in common, no matter how strange their lifestyles may seem to us. Deep down we are ALL human beings and have the same needs and Jesus can help everyone; from those in New Jersey, Canada and even as far away as China. This picture was a little deception of mine, because it is my grand-daughter all dressed up to look oriental. Like I said, inside we are all the same; we just are raised differently in the culture we find ourselves in. Be who you are, but care about others; reach out and they just might do the same. If it was good enough for Paul, perhaps it is worth a try. Only, I think I will pass on the dress.