'Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.
And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.
There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.'
Crack! The cue ball strikes the apex of the pyramid in one of downtown Peraia's pool halls. Argiris and Stefan, two of the men on the servant leadership team at Network Community, took me out for a little 'guy-time' following Friday's home group meeting in the neighboring town of Michaniona. I would learn that 'solids and stripes' to an American are 'one color and two colors' to a Greek and 'full and half' to a German. A variety of names, but the same game.
I had asked Argiris to give me some advice on how to improve my pool game. He proceeded to explain to me the elementary rules of play. Realizing that something seemed to have been lost in translation, I began to nod dismissively, thinking, 'Yes, yes, I know that already.' No sooner had that thought crossed my mind, than when he told me a very simple rule that I didn't know. Humbled, I realized that I have a lot to learn from these brothers of mine.
After a handful of games (I won't bother disclosing the winner here. Hint: It wasn't me...), we retired to Annika's apartment where we enjoyed one another's company with their respective wives, Peggy and Tanya. Later in the evening, Peggy began to share her heart about what she felt like the Lord was speaking to her and Argi, given their present living situation. As a result of the economic crisis in Greece, many that do find work often go unpaid for quite some time. Consequently, Argi and Peggy have had to make some tough choices - one of which, is moving into Argi's unfinished workshop beneath his father's home. As things are presently, time appears to be waning before other decisions must be made. Regardless, they are determined to seek the Lord and yield themselves to His word, despite their circumstances.
Tanya began sharing a testimony of how the Lord had given her supernatural peace in the midst of a physical trial that she walked through some time ago. As she and Annika shared the treasures of wisdom from their own hearts, it was as if the Lord was pouring the solidity of His wisdom and truth into the foundations of my inner man. It felt so good to receive of such a familiar spirit of wisdom and revelation, in an otherwise foreign land, with otherwise foreign people.
It's funny how you think you can know a person or a people group based on a handful of surface-level interactions or stereotypical worldly judgments. However, when these brothers and sisters begin to share their lives with you, you realize they have an entire history in the Lord - a rich history - that you know very little about. And not just the Lord, but the same Lord.
Who is the missionary again?
'Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh'
'For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.'