Some of Paul’s close workers like Titus were not Jews. Paul himself was a very strong Jew, a Pharisee of the Pharisees. But his constant travelling companion was a Greek doctor named Luke, who wrote the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. The other person he worked so closely with was Timothy. He was half Greek, his father being a Greek. Titus was also a Greek. So, these four people from different communities working together – Paul, Titus, Timothy and Luke – were a living demonstration of the gospel of the new covenant where people of different nationalities could work as one.
If you can work only with people of your own culture and nationality, something is wrong with your Christianity. If you are a Malayalee and you can only work with Malayalees you haven’t understood the gospel. The gospel made Paul work with people of different languages and different nationalities. We must be willing to work with people of any nationality or temperament, if they are disciples of Jesus – whether they be Chinese, African, Russian, South American or North American, whether they be introverts or extroverts. Temperament and nationality may all be different, and yet they can be close co-workers. We must get out of the sectarian, communal, narrow way of thinking that makes us comfortable only with people of our own nationality and temperament and we must learn to work with all who are in the Body of Christ.
There are some peculiar traits that people of certain nationalities and communities have. But when they come to Christ they can be delivered from those traits. Paul told Titus, when Titus was in Crete, that one of the Cretan religious preachers had said, “Cretans are liars, evil as beasts, lazy and gluttonous” (Titus 1:12). That may have been true. But when such a Cretan comes to Christ and is filled with the Holy Spirit, he won’t be a liar or evil, he won’t behave like a beast, he won’t be lazy, and he won’t be a glutton. So, we must never judge a person according to his nationality or community. If we are prejudiced against any Christian because of his community, we will remain spiritually poor.
God has made me immensely rich spiritually, through fellowship with people of different nationalities and communities – Chinese, Africans, Indians of different races, Europeans, Americans, etc. My heart has always been open to God’s people from all communities and nations – because I know that godliness is not found in any particular nation. I have noticed that people from certain wealthy countries are very arrogant. But the true believers from those countries are humble. So, the Cretans may be liars, but the Christians in Crete are not liars. People of some communities have very poor family values. But the Christians from those communities need not be like the others. So, we should never judge a Christian by the community he comes from. He is a new creation. That is why Paul had no problem with having some of his closest co-workers from other nationalities.
If you are unwilling to work with people who are different from you in the Body of Christ, you will not be able to fulfil the whole purpose of God for your life. God will not then show you who your co-workers should be – because in His plan, He may want you to work with somebody of another nationality, or from another part of India, and He sees that you are not willing to accept His plan.
There are many wrong attitudes in us that need to be broken down before we can work together with others in the Body of Christ, without any distinction of any sort. If we have a preference to work only with people of the same type as us, God will not guide us. We may choose our co-workers ourselves and say that the Lord led us to them – but it won’t be true. It would have been our own carnal preferences that led us. We chose them because they were of the same intellectual level, or of the same community, or of the same temperament as us. That type of union is all right for marriage. But when working for God, we have to be open to anyone whom God chooses as our co-workers.