Thursday, February 14, 2013

Do you like the soup?

To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews … To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.  (1Corinthians 9:20&22)

Moose nose soup is an Athabaskan cultural tradition. Moose nose soup is also an acquired taste. The last bowl that I ate was beautifully prepared, with herbs, noodles, spices…and moose nose cut up into quarter inch squares. It has a unique quality about it in that it is mostly cartilage and they use everything from the inside of the nostrils to the ribbed palate inside the mouth. And yes you can tell the difference. The problem with cartilage is that no matter how much you chew it, it never seems to get smaller. So the question one would ask at this point is, “Did you like the soup?” For me the answer is very simple: I love the people that I’m eating it with.

The occasion of this cultural cuisine was a potlatch for a native elder who had died earlier in the week, and had been buried not three hours before the potlatch. He was a friend, and regularly attended our church. I missed him as I ate a bowl of soup that he would have undoubtedly loved. When he died I was called to help ‘prepare’ the body. We washed him, dressed him, moved and made his body ready for the wake and funeral. Local men built the casket, and dug the grave. I officiated the funeral service, and drove my sno-go 14 miles to the cemetery at -20F. We did a short grave side prayer, helped to lower him into the ground, and shoveled six feet of dirt back into the ground by hand with shovels.

This is not my culture of origin. But being willing to live incarnationally in a culture not my own allows me to do as Paul did. To the Athabaskan, I become as the Athabaskan, to the Yupik’ I become as the Yupik’, to the white guys I become as a white guy (culturally classified as “Red Neck” I think). Not because I will win them all, but because there will be some who will take notice of the life that you and I live and realize their deep need for Jesus. As we live what Christ has done in us, and speak about what we are learning in Him there will be some who will be transformed by the work of the gospel in their lives. But they will never see Jesus if they don’t see us sitting at the table with a bowl of their favorite soup, smiling, laughing, and loving a people not our own, in Jesus name. How do you become "All things" to the people where you live?

Things you can pray for:
  • A youth mission team from Faith Bible Fellowship is here in Galena this week serving the community, YoungLife, and the the church. Pray that they would remain safe as they work cutting wood, and that the transforming nature of the Gospel would be seen in them to the community.
  • The Galena Bible Church - SEND North Partnership is creating new opportunities for church planting and outreach. Pray that we would have wisdom to know where to invest our time and resources to see churches planted in every village in the Interior.
  • Pray for the group of missionaries that are serving in the Yukon/Koyukuk Delta that the Lord would reap a harvest through us.


Barbara Kopp said...

Thanks for the challenge!!!!

Steven Niette said...

I'm learning more and more how to become all things to all people. In the past, I allowed personal ethics to cloud my witness, but by God's grace I'm learning to consider others as more important than debatable matters. Thanks for the post!