September 2, 2007

Learning a New Language

Scripture Reading — Genesis 11:1-9

The Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth. Genesis 11:9


I grew up in a mostly African American community in Chicago. I planned to live and die in my community. But God had different plans. Today I am a pastor of a most­ly white church in a mostly Hispanic neighborhood. My neighbors speak Spanish, and I find myself trying to learn a new language among the people God has given me to serve.

Life was convenient when everyone spoke a common language. But something strange happened. The people became filled with pride and began to speak and act in ways that hindered their relationship with God: "Let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves ..."

When we seek to make a name for ourselves and try to make ourselves like God, our lives become smaller, not bigger. We contradict the example of Jesus, who "did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing" (Philippians 2:6-7).

The efforts of the people to stick together under one language failed because God was not central in their lives. Their attempts at unity created divisions that Christ came to heal. Through Christ's reconciling work, the nations can come together again. "At the name of Jesus every knee [will] bow ... and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord ..." (Philippians 2:10-11).


<p>Lord Jesus, make me an instrument of your peace. Use my feeble efforts to spread your good news across my neighborhood. </p><p>In your name I pray, O Prince of Peace. Amen.</p>


Devotion topics: Christianity, Discipleship