Think about this. When Jesus went to the Samaritans (John 4) He had no business being there. Becky and I likewise violate turf rules by going to the Gujis. Guji territory is outside the Burji box. But just as Jesus wandered into enemy-controlled territory, so the Christian has the privilege of invading territory controlled by a rival religion. Interestingly, Jesus deliberately defiles Himself by asking for water from a vessel that an unclean woman has touched. I have to smile when I think that Jesus’ ministry to the Samaritans began with a drink. That’s exactly how my ministry among the Gujis began. This picture is no joke — I choked when I “drank” this coffee. (It was full of roasted coffee beans that one was expected to eat. It is a Guji tradition.)
Yet I’m sure that Jesus would have accepted it. In the upside-down kingdom, everything is inverted. Acceptance of others for the sake of the Gospel becomes the yardstick of stature in Jesus’ new kingdom. Contemporary talk of “missions” often falls short of this ideal. Some missionaries in Ethiopia I’ve met live in the nicest homes and drive the newest cars. They seem oblivious to the needs all around them. They forget that Jesus’ kingdom is flat. In His book, everyone is greatest. I love the Gujis because Jesus loves them. He invites all of us — the Burjis included — to become blind to social status and tribal allegiances.
I love you, Jesus. And I love your kingdom in which everyone stands on equal ground. Please help me to overcome my craving for the highest seats. Teach me your illogical logic. For your Name’s sake. Amen.