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The Prize We Are Seeking

December 9, 2022

Mark Hedinger

It's not about the money. It's not about the sacrifice. It's about the goal. It's about the prize, the purpose, the reason.

In Matthew 13:46, Jesus tells a story of a merchant who sold everything so he could buy a pearl of great value. Imagine what that pearl was worth, that this man would sell everything to own it. It wasn't about the money or the sacrifice, it was about the goal of owning a pearl of great value.

CultureBound has a goal, a purpose. We are here to equip God's people to be effective as His ambassadors in unfamiliar cultures and languages. We are here to see the Gospel -- that priceless pearl -- enter every tribe and tongue and people and nation. We are here because Gospel messengers need to learn to live and talk with the people they are sent to.

"I just wish I had received this training years ago," said a veteran missionary after a CultureBound training event. CultureBound training gives tools for self-directed learning of new cultures and languages. That new culture itself is not the prize. The prize is seeing people from that culture declare Jesus is King. The veteran missionary in our training had that same goal, and CultureBound's training led her to be more effective in talking to families and children she had been sent to.

"Learning culture is not so I will be comfortable. It is so the person I am talking to can be comfortable!" The excitement of understanding spread across their faces. They were al from northwest Mexico, preparing for ministry outside of their own cultures. They thought, like many do, that the purpose of culture training was for their own comfort. They weren't entirely wrong -- knowing how to adjust to a new culture will make you more comfortable!

But comfort is not the prize. The prize is when people you are reaching feel comfortable enough to welcome you into their circle of trust. The prize is an open door to share the Gospel. The prize is when those listening to the Gospel feel like it is a message meant for them, even though it is being delivered by someone from a foreign place.

The prize is when the message of God's love crosses any cultural barriers that are in place. The prize for CultureBound is the stories from those who have used our training to successfully share the Gospel in other cultures and languages.

I started this by saying, "It's not about the money." It truly isn't. The prize is so much greater than the finances or efforts. But ministry does have financial costs. I know that many reading this are also seeking the prize that has captured our hearts. One way you can join your heart to ours is through regular financial support, which will help us to continue training hundreds of Gospel workers. Can you imagine the chain reaction when hundreds of Gospel workers minister effectively in a new culture? We give for that goal.

Mark Hedinger, DIS, is Executive Director of CultureBound. Mark and his family spent 12 years living and teaching in Mexico. Since then, he has taught in many international locations and leads culture training programs at CultureBound. With his Spanish language background, he serves in a multicultural church in Portland, Oregon.


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