Jonah 1:5 Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god…..
Jonah 1:6 “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God, perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish”.
Jonah 1:9 So he said to the, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land”.
When a life threatening storm enveloped a ship full of professional sailors and one passenger that was a foreigner with no sailing experience, an interesting and thought provoking scene took place.
What the ship’s crew did and what they encouraged Jonah to do is one of the things that I love about cross-cultural ministry.
Ministry in other countries or ministry to those now living in the U.S. who were born and raised in other countries produces situations and conversations similar to what took place that day on that ship.
Having been born and raised within American culture and being somewhat a product of it, I knew going out and telling others about Him probably wouldn’t be well received.
To put it succinctly, I vastly underestimated what came back at me from those I tried to share with.
If looks were daggers, I would have died from blood loss after the first three or four people I tried to talk to.
It was a miracle I didn’t end u with frostbite from the “cold shoulders” that were thrust my way as soon as I began talking about Jesus.
It was a steep learning curve to say the least.
This isn’t the place to go into detail about American culture, but as any casual observer of cultures learns quickly, Americans have perfected the ability to live compartmentalized lives and actually pride themselves that they do so.
I can’t count the number of times that I’ve tried to talk to Americans about Jesus and heard this response, “my faith is very private to me and I don’t like to talk about it”.
But the majority of the cultures of the world don’t live compartmentalized lives.
You can’t separate their religion from their culture–they are tightly interwoven.
If you ask them about their god or their religion, they are happy to tell you about it.
If you can speak their language, they will even take the initiative to tell you about their god and their religion and then ask you about yours.
If they hear someone, (generally an American or Western European), tell them that their faith is private, they wonder what kind of faith that person has if they aren’t willing to talk about it.
Their logic is, “If that person’s faith is of help to them and is good for them, why wouldn’t they share it with others and pass around the goodness for everyone to benefit from?”
Fellow followers of Jesus, in case you haven’t noticed, the global ship that all of us are on is in the midst of the biggest storm it’s ever encountered.
People are crying out to their gods and expecting everyone else to cry out to their gods too…the situation is that dire.
If ever there were a time for the followers of Jesus that come from America to go against their compartmentalized culture, that time is now.
We should be crying out to the true and living God for the good of the passengers on this ship that is humanity.
And also seize the opportunity this unsetting moment in history provides to tell others about our God so He can be contrasted with all the other gods that people are worshiping.
Boldness is needed.
God never wastes a storm, neither should we.