One of my favorite things to do is to travel. If I were not called to preach, I’d probably want to be an over-the-road trucker. Or a tour guide for some exotic travel agency. It’s because I get bored easily and love experiencing new things. ADHD.
It’s good to travel because exposing your mind to other cultures is a powerful way to grow personally. When you travel, you learn that American culture is filled with myths. We like to think we’re above other cultures with their primitive beliefs, but we have them too.
One of the myths goes like this: Our way is the right way; everyone else does things the wrong way. Touring the Harley Davidson factory, I heard the tour-guide – an old Harley dude – say, “During the 70’s Harley Davidson was in big trouble. We didn’t know how we would survive. Many American companies were in bad shape during those years. But we thought of the way we were doing things and we revamped our whole system of making motorcycles.” Then he said something I never expected, “We actually learned it from the Japanese.” It made me chuckle, thinking that the thing that kept Harley Davidson alive was some Japanese thinking. It’s a myth to think that we have corner of the market on intelligence. And if Harley Davidson had believed that myth, they may not have survived the 70’s.
Another myth that shows provincialism is this: It’s wrong to send help to other countries; we have people right here in our own town who are just as needy. I hear that a lot. And when I do, I think, “Man – you need to get out more.” Seeing the woman without any legs drag herself across the sidewalk to relieve herself in the gutter in Otovala cured me of that kind of thinking. It’s a myth to think that people in third world countries have it as good as we have it.
The myth our passage (Matthew 9:14-17) warns against today is this one: The way we do Christianity is right; other Christians are wrong. If you believe that, then you’ve not been paying attention when missionaries visit us. Man – they do Christianity a lot different overseas than we do. And if you believe this myth, you’ve never thought about the way Christian faith was expressed in the New Testament. When was the last time you met in someone’s home for communion?
If you’re not careful, you can become pretty inflexible in your belief of these kinds of myths. And that can prevent you from enjoying all that God has and does for you. By the way, all the travel in the world can’t prevent this inflexibility. It takes God to keep our hearts soft.
For more, listen to the sermon attached. Outline available by emailing: