Becoming All Things to All Men

For each word/phrase below see if you can guess which country it belongs to!

U.S. or Mexico?

  • Taco Bell
  • Street Tacos
  • Fast food chains
  • Highways with no driving lanes
  • New England Patriots Football
  • Chivas Futbol Club
  • Sombreros
  • Baseball caps
  • National symbol: Eagle
  • National Symbol: Eagle with a snake in its claws
  • Seasons with warm and cool weather
  • Treacherous heat

Pretty difficult right? You may have had to even Google some of those to see which country each item most aligns with? Doubt it! (Although I would have mixed up a few of these before moving here).

Here are a few interesting facts about Mexico:

  • Only 10 other countries in the world have a higher population
  • Home to the oldest University in North America
  • Has the 2nd largest Catholic population in the world
  • Introduced chocolate, corn, and chilies to the world
  • Has the biggest Pyramid in the World (Great Pyramid of Cholula)
  • There are over 60 native languages spoken throughout different villages and towns.

But now, after reading the facts from above you are fully aware of the differences between Mexico and the United States and completely equipped to go down to Mexico and fit right in like a native-born Mexican, right?

Oh, how incredible that would be if that were the case. To be able to absorb information about Mexico and its culture and even Spanish in just a couple months and practically be a local Mexican. What we have learned since being here is that these things take lots of time!! We have seen how important and worthwhile it is to make every effort to understand the people in our community here in Puerto Escondido. The people of Mexico have been very strong through the recent tragedies from the earthquakes, and it has been special to witness people’s hearts for one another. Every city is uniquely different and has different needs, but we know that all of those needs have an answer and His name is Jesus!

So I have been asking myself, “How can we most relate to people here in Puerto Escondido?” all for the sake of The Gospel. Let’s look at the example of the greatest evangelist in the Christian church, the Apostle Paul.

“For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews;…” (1 Cor. 9:19-20a)

The first and best thing that we can do to share Jesus here is to become a servant of all, which requires the removal of pride and my own selfish agenda. It doesn’t matter what culture it is, serving people grabs their attention. Later on Paul says, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” What a sacrifice! It may be hard for us to give a little of our time or sacrifice our own agenda, but the example of Paul to become all things to all men sets the bar high. The bar is not even attainable for us, that is without The Holy Spirit burning in our hearts every day. We must ask the Holy Spirit to quicken our hearts and motives.

A friend was recently sharing with me how there is plenty of good to be done wherever you are. There is no lack of good works and service that could be done in this world, but without time alone with God and in The Word, we are toast. We get burnt out and it becomes nothing more than man produced works, but through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are stirred up to share about life, which is Jesus.

There are days when I am really lacking the passion to do my part of “becoming all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” Probably because that usually looks like studying Spanish, or talking to a neighbor on a tiring day or helping coach kids basketball after a long day at school. In my flesh, this is not always what I would choose, but if my motives come from being a light in the dark, there is always a way. Jesus is the way!

As we grow our relationships here as people on mission for Jesus, we can be assured that no work for the Gospel is meaningless. Even when it does not measure up to the world’s standards of “living a successful life” we have faith that there is good soil that our seeds we fall on and produce fruit.

Nate Tew, GEM missionary