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How Not to Engage Your Community

June 26, 2008

No idea where I got this, but it has been sitting in my “blogs to finish” file forever. I think it makes a good point about our attitude toward those who are not yet serving God fully.

According to a traditional Hebrew story, Abraham was sitting outside his tent one evening when he saw an old man, weary from age and journey, coming toward him. Abraham rushed out, greeted him, and then invited him into his tent. There he washed the old man’s feet and gave him food and drink.

The old man immediately began eating without saying any prayer or blessing. So Abraham asked him, "Don’t you worship God?"

The old traveler replied, "I worship fire only and reverence no other god."

When he heard this, Abraham became incensed, grabbed the old man by the shoulders, and threw him out his his tent into the cold night air.

When the old man had departed, God called to his friend Abraham and asked where the stranger was. Abraham replied, "I forced him out because he did not worship you."

God answered, "I have suffered him these eighty years although he dishonors me. Could you not endure him one night?"

I hope we learn to engage our culture and community better than Abe in this story. But unfortunately, this is how most church people relate to non-church people when they mispronounce Shibboleth. (Judges 12:6)

***For more on this topic, read my "Friend of Sinners" article i wrote for Evangelicals Today mag.

***New "father’s day gift" pix now posted on my accidental missionary site.

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