American First?

Douglas VanBronkhorst

READ : Matthew 4:18-22

Follow me. (v. 19)

I climbed in the back seat with Randy and Joe, friendly American boys in tee shirts, shorts, and tennis shoes. We were soon talking sports, especially the NBA and LeBron James, while riding through Chiang Mai, Thailand! Their dad interrupted to say we were stopping for lunch at a noodle shop popular with locals. The boys enthusiastically recommended their favorite food. It was good, and spicy enough to require two orange Fantas, sipped through a straw from small glass bottles. We had passed a McDonalds, but Randy and Joe had been promised their favorite lunch, and that wasn't a burger and fries. Noodles are healthier, but that's not why they chose them. They chose them because Thailand is home. Spicy noodles are the boys' comfort food.

These boys are Americans. Their school has an American curriculum. They love basketball. But they speak Thai as well as English, and while they regularly visit the United States, they are more comfortable in Thailand. They are happy and content but didn't choose to grow up overseas. That came with their parents' call to share the gospel with Thais. Children are included in their parents' service for Christ, wherever that may be. America is a good place to live, and it's a privilege to be a U.S. citizen, but being in God's kingdom is more important than any cultural or national identity. That's what Jesus means when he says, “Follow me.”


Lord, may my identity be found first of all in belonging to you.