fbpx

Share This

Share on facebook
Share on email

Practicaly Holy Blog

Helping people help others in the name of Jesus Christ

Eat What They Eat

By, Isam Itson III

Philippians 2:5-7  “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”

There are so many voices calling for peace, love, and unity across social, cultural, ethnic, and racial divides. But, how do we get there? While teaching at the Calvary Chapel Bible College in the southern Philippines for just over three years, I spent over three quarters of my waking life with the locals immersed in their world. 

About two years in, I was hosting some short term building contractors for dinner at one of our nicest local restaurants. You could order some western dishes that you would like if you had been in the country for a while, but the best dishes on the menu were Filipino. While enjoying our dinner we overheard a Western tourist complaining about her hamburger and one of my dinner guests commented, “That’s why wherever you go, you eat what they eat.” 

Everything we need to know about building relationships across cultural and social divides in one simple statement. Eat what they eat. Engage with people with an attitude of openness, acceptance, goodwill, gratitude, and trust. Willingly set aside our preferences and habits and embrace their way of life. Voluntarily live with and among them. Celebrate with them. Listen to their stories. Ask investigative questions. Participate, learn, struggle, grow, and enjoy. Only then can we see ourselves and each other more clearly and evaluate our different views of life more honestly, humbly, and genuinely in light of the gospel. That binding of our hearts across cultural, ethnic, linguistic, social, economic, and national divides adds a breadth and depth to our lives and awareness of the virtues and shortcomings of our own way of life that is enriching beyond category.

This is what the Son of God did. He emptied himself of his glory for our sake in obedience to the Father. Have you ever thought about what it was like for the eternal Son of God to set aside his glory in heaven and embrace life with us on this earth? He was the Only Begotten Son of God who eternally shared the glory and love of the Father in a perfect, harmonious and uninterrupted relationship.

The Son shared in the light and life of the Father and completed the eternal love of the Father, from always and forever. The Son existed in a boundless, eternal, and glorious, relationship of light, life, and love, with God the Father. 

The Eternal Son of God shared in the Father’s glory as ruler over creation: the source and authority of all light, life, wisdom, and order in the created universe. The Son received ALL glory and praise with the Father from ALL of the hosts of heaven, in perfect submission to God the Father. That was the eternal, perfect, righteous life of the Eternal Son of God in relationship to God the Father and creation. Yet he did not consider his honor and privilege as something to be grasped or forcibly held onto. 

The Son voluntarily set aside his rights and privileges as God by taking the form of a slave. In his letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul equates being a human with being a servant. The word translated servant in verse seven is actually the greek word for slave.

A slave serves someone else’s agenda. They are dedicated to someone else’s purpose. They are vessels of someone else’s honor. Their gifts, talents, and energies enrich another. Being a slave means their feelings are irrelevant, and only the master’s will matters. 

This is a whole new world for the eternal Son of God, now, Jesus of Nazareth. From heaven to earth, to the cross. From everlasting light, life, wisdom and glory, to a world plagued by chaos, death and darkness. From worshipped and honored to overlooked, discounted, and dishonored… by his own choice, in response to the Father’s purpose of restoring our relationship with God. Jesus humbled himself, as an instrument of God’s purpose, for our sake.

As we pursue more harmonious relationships across social, economic, racial, and cultural divides in the church, we have to be willing to set aside our rights, privileges, and preferences as necessary. This willingness is key to serving as faithful representatives of God’s love for all of the people of the world revealed in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Many of us talk about being open to people from different cultural, social, and ethnic backgrounds but we rarely enter their lives. We commit no regular time to being in their world on their terms. Most of us want them to adjust their way of life to ours. I am not challenging us to make an Olympian level commitment. I am encouraging us to plan, prepare, and make consistent time to nurture individual relationships with people across cultural divides.

If we are willing to humbly admit our initial ignorance and incompetence, we can begin enjoying the privilege of learning and growing in relationship to the different people around us for the rest of our lives. Start slow. Read online articles  and books that provide instruction on interpersonal communication. Learn about cross cultural communication. Practice what you learn. Go to a coffee shop or restaurant in a different part of town than you normally frequent. 

Get to know your coworkers as individuals and allow them to get to know you. Learn their history on their terms. Embrace and push through the initial disorientation and discomfort of spending time with people who don’t look at the world in the same way as you. Listen and learn. Engage, assess, and re-engage. Or, we can keep talking about the benefits and necessity of embracing people across social, cultural, and economic divides, while we keep watching them on our screens from within our own comfortable, isolated, and uninformed frames of reference.

If we do embrace the joy of persistent and committed engagement with them for ourselves, until their perspective becomes a part of our own, and we become a part of them and they become a part of us, then we can begin seeing where the life of Jesus Christ touches them in their current situation. The Son of God was willing to set his position and privilege aside to become one with us and to eat what we eat for our sake. Are we willing to do the same for the sake of others in his name, no matter the cost?

For Reflection

1. What personality traits, personal achievements, activities, and/or possessions are you known for, or proud of?  

2. Which of your answers would you be willing to walk away from  in order to honor God’s love for a stranger in need? 

3. How can you regularly enter the world of someone who is socially or economically different from you without leaving your own city or town?

Isam Itson

Practically Holy is a mentoring community dedicated to empowering people to help each other as a practical and sustainable expression of their faith in Jesus Christ. That’s what Practically Holy is all about. Pursuing our common humanity in Jesus Christ by honoring our God-given purpose and boundaries, as we follow Jesus Christ together, and help others do the same, as dedicated members of our communities, from generation to generation.

 Practiallyholy.com

Practically Holy | Blog

No justice, no peace

by, Isam Itson III Matthew 23:23 – “justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others”. Once our relationship

Read More »

God help us

by, Isam Itson III Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the

Read More »

Ripe fruit

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 21: 43-44 – “Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to

Read More »

Ask Jesus

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 17:24-27 – When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does

Read More »

Be righteous

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 15:17-20 – “Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? 18

Read More »

Enough to start

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 14:14-18 –When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Read More »

Yield

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 13:23  –  “As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word (of the

Read More »

Mercy

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 12:1-8 – At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, and they began

Read More »

As we go

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 10:14 – “And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your

Read More »

An open heart

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 9:10-13 – And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were

Read More »

Faith in action

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 8:5-10 – When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 6 “Lord, my servant

Read More »

God is our dad

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 6:9 – Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Matthew 6:30-33 – if God so

Read More »

Let’s go

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 4:18-20 – While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew

Read More »

Trial by fire

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 4:1-4 – Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2

Read More »

Active patience

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 3:11 – “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I,

Read More »

Right this way

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 2:1,2 – Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise

Read More »

Finally

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 1:16 and 17 “…and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is

Read More »

All together now

By, Isam Itson III Ephesians 5:21 – Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Considering our relationships as members of our local churches,

Read More »

Rich and poor

By, Isam Itson III Ephesians 6:5-9 – Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6 not

Read More »

Married life

By, Isam Itson III Matthew 19:4-6 – “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and

Read More »

Overcoming evil

By, Isam Itson III How do we respond to the self righteousness, injustice, and immorality of our governing authorities, political opponents, and social power brokers?

Read More »

Stand strong

By, Isam Itson III How do we respond to the self righteous agendas of the powers that be in our societies? How do we deal

Read More »

Mutual respect

By, Isam Itson III Ephesians 5:21: Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. In addition to practicing the expression of gratitude, as followers

Read More »

Thank God

By, Isam Itson III People have been drinking alcohol as a way of coping with stress and loss for a long time. When we get

Read More »

Imitate God

By, Isam Itson III Ephesians 5:1-2. – Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave

Read More »

Stop lying

By, Isam Itson III Ephesians 4:25 – Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we

Read More »

Game day

By, Isam Itson III Proverbs 16:25 – “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”

Read More »

Showing up

By, Isam Itson III Ephesians 4:11-13, “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the

Read More »

One goal

By, Isam Itson III Sometimes people ask me, “Why do I need to join a church to make a difference?”  Because a group of people

Read More »

Changing hearts

By, Isam Itson III Recently I was listening to a lecture given by the British theologian, John Barclay. He told the story of a poor,

Read More »

What do we do?

By, Isam Itson III The greatest among you shall be your servant. – Matthew 23:11 “What can I do to make a difference and honor

Read More »

Love remains

By, Isam Itson III Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  8 Love never ends. – 1 Corinthians 13:7-8

Read More »

Forgiveness

By, Isam Itson III Love keeps no record of wrongs. One of the most difficult things that I deal with as a follower of Jesus

Read More »

Mindful

By, Isam Itson III Love is not easily angered – 1 Corinthians 13:5 Every time I have lashed out in anger verbally or physically, I

Read More »

Considerate

By, Isam Itson III Love does not insist on its own way, – 1 Corinthians 13:5 Being considerate acknowledges our awareness that for us to

Read More »

Polite

By, Isam Itson III Love is not rude, – 1 Corinthians 13:5 When the author of the text says that love is not rude, he

Read More »

Respect

By, Isam Itson III Love is not arrogant. A loving person sees others being just as worthy of honor and regard as themselves. They give

Read More »

Attentive

By, Isam Itson III Love conveys an attitude of value expressed in acts of respect and consideration for the needs and concerns of others. Love

Read More »

Generosity

By, Isam Itson III I remember watching one of my friends as she gave her two young sons a snack to share. She told her

Read More »

Kindness

By, Isam Itson III Love is Kind. My wife, Lori, is my superhero. Her example of God fearing love for others has taught me so

Read More »

Patience

By, Isam Itson III Love is an attitude of value expressed in purposeful and voluntary acts of respect and consideration for the needs and concerns

Read More »

Love is…

By, Isam Itson III Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. – Matthew

Read More »

Stay True

By, Isam Itson III If you have ever felt trapped in your job or responsibilities keep reading. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the

Read More »

Stay Focused

By, Isam Itson III One aspect of embracing our cross in the name of Jesus is surrendering our self interest in obedience to God for

Read More »

Start Over

By, Isam Itson III Over the years I have met many refugees. People who immigrated to new countries fleeing disaster, war, or terror in their

Read More »

Eat What They Eat

By, Isam Itson III Philippians 2:5-7  “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form

Read More »

Replacing Pride

By, Isam Itson III Pride goes before destruction,  and a haughty spirit before a fall.  19  It is better to be of a lowly spirit

Read More »

God Help Me

By, Isam Itson III God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  2  Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives

Read More »

Growing Pains

By, Joe Worsham I read  Psalm 8, Psalm 88 and Psalm 23 in rapid succession and I think this is a really powerful illustration of

Read More »

Oh, God?!…

By, Isam Itson III “They devoted themselves to prayer.” Acts 2:42 “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Read More »

Get another chair

By, Isam Itson III “They also devoted themselves to the breaking of bread.”  – from Acts 2:42. I was at the grocery store during the

Read More »

That’s good

By, Isam Itson III “And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:12. I love learning about creative people at the top of their field.

Read More »

Well, Jesus said…

By, Isam Itson III “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching,” Acts 2:42. In her last years before her death my 105 year old granny

Read More »

Need a light?

By, Isam Itson III In dark times God not only comforts us with his loving presence, he also encourages us with his light, which is

Read More »

Family matters

By Isam Itson III. In Luke’s gospel, Jesus called his disciples to live as members of the Kingdom of God. He called them to obey

Read More »

Passing the Baton

By, Isam Itson III Genesis 1:28 – “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it,…  ” God purposed that other people carry

Read More »

Hotel Elegante

Unable to read published form data

Unable to read published form data

Update Post

Syntax error, missing attribute: #user_meta (Expected: key)