August  20

 

 

Matthew 15:  21-28

 

Think globally, act locally.  You’re familiar with the slogan.  It was coined in relation to the environment.  Having regard to the health of the planet, take action in your local neighbourhood to do what you can to protect it. It’s all very fine to have grand ideas of what should happen universally, but it’s how we put them into practice in our home and in our local neighbourhood that makes a difference. Jesus was God’s agent in bringing about a transformation in humanity. He was the Saviour of the world. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved,” Paul wrote stressing the universal nature of the Gospel. But Jesus did not flit from country to country in an attempt to spread his message everywhere all at once. From what we know in the four gospels, he travelled outside the boundaries of Israel on only a few occasions and then only to neighbouring territories for short visits. He understood that he was, “Sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” That provided the focus for his ministry as well as its background and terminology. Likewise none of us are called by God to change the world; just the little bit where we live. We are not personally responsible for the good behaviour of everyone in the community, but we are responsible for our own conduct, our own attitudes. On the other hand we should be aware that our actions locally are related to what is happening globally. As a strategy, God’s action in Jesus Christ to redeem the world through a concentrated attention on the people of Israel does not mean that the rest of the world is forgotten. When a foreign woman, in desperation, called on him for help he hesitated, but he could not but respond to her plea. After all, the call to come under the reign of God was ultimately for all people everywhere irrespective of race or nationality. It simply had to have roots somewhere. Neither ideas nor the Word of God burst into the world without preparation. The Gospel has its base among the Jewish people, but it is a message for all people every where.

 

  • How important is the slogan, “Think globally, act locally,” for the environment?
  • How can that slogan be applied to our cooperation in God’s reign?
  • Judaism provided the original context for the Christian Gospel. How would you describe the context in which we live and seek to live out the Gospel today?
  • If we are all called to share in the ministry of Christ, where is the local focus for your ministry?