Pastor Terry’s sermon yesterday was a survey of the book of Ruth. It brought up some interesting questions. He said that Ruth highlights our “Missionary God” and listed three practices that can indicate that we’re in tune with God’s missionary heart:
• Respecting outsiders
• Welcoming outsiders
• Including outsiders
Ruth was an outsider in the sense that she was a Moabite (nationality) and grew up in another religion – two ways that we readily agree are outside what we’re used to. However, he stressed that there are many kinds of outsiders: different economic status (high or low), education level (high or low), lifestyle choice, political affiliation (including the President), clothing, music, dress, age, etc. There are many people that we may consider “other”, but that is only more reason for us to show them respect, welcome, and inclusion. In fact, the only people Jesus ever yelled at were those who acted as if they were “right” about everything and better than the prostitutes and tax collectors. I’ve been thinking about who my “outsiders” are. Right away, I think of the very wealthy, not very bright people (I don’t mean lack of education either), and I’m sure there are many more if I sit down and think about it. Who are your outsiders?