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Ways of Communicating

By: Rob Sullivan

Different cultures at different times communicate in different ways. And practices in one part of the world or in one era may hold no meaning whatsoever in another place. However, in the world today, there may be a unifying way of communication which Believers Stewardship Services (BSS) has begun to leverage.

In ancient Jewish culture, the hem of one’s garment had a very important function and meaning. The Gospels give the account of a woman who suffered from a terrible malady and was healed upon reaching out and grabbing the hem of the Lord’s garment. The healing power came from the Lord Jesus Himself (Mark 5:30) in response to the woman’s action and faith (Matthew 9:21-22). Additionally, this woman was but one of many ill and dying people who purposed to reach out and touch the hem of His robe for healing (Matthew 14:34-36). Someone unfamiliar with the Bible may make the mistake of thinking there was some magical or mystical power associated with the hem of the Lord’s garment. This is not the fare of our God – trinkets and talismans have no place in God’s economy of things. This is not to say however that the hem of the garment was insignificant. Clearly, there is something going on here as it relates to the hem of this garment. The answer is found in what the hem represents in 1st Century Jewish culture.

Going back to the time of the giving of the Law under Moses, the hem held special spiritual significance (Numbers 15:38-39). In Jewish thinking, it came to represent God’s revealed Word and their obligations to keep His commands. You see glimpses of this in the lives of both Samuel (1 Samuel 15:27) and Elijah (1 Kings 19:19).

Over time, the hem or tassels also came to be associated with the authority or power of the given individual. You see this in how David reacts after cutting the corner of Saul’s robe – he despairs that he has dishonored God’s anointed king by this action (1 Samuel 24:4-6). You also see this in the actions taken by Ruth in her approach to Boaz. By uncovering his feet during the time of the harvest festival (and thereby touching the edge of his garment), Ruth makes a claim on Boaz. In essence, she is approaching him as her kinsman redeemer and makes a marriage claim on him.

This brings us back to the Gospel narratives and the accounts of those who reached out and touched the hem of the Lord’s garment. They are each making a claim on Him as well. In essence, this woman was communicating through the act of touching the hem of the garment that she believes the Lord Jesus can heal her. In response, she is healed and so too is everyone else who touches the edge of His garment.

In that culture, what was communicated and how it was communicated all carried significance. The same is true today.

Like then, cultural and generational differences abound today as well [1]:

  • The thumb held upwards means everything’s OK in many countries, while it is considered rude in Islamic countries and in Greece.
  • In Mediterranean countries, Latin America and Africa, it is normal, or at least tolerated, to arrive 30+ minutes late to a meeting; in northern Europe or the U.S., it’s seen as inconsiderate.
  • In many Asian countries and in Central America it is well-mannered to leave right after dinner (those who don’t leave may indicate they have not eaten enough). In India, Europe and North America this would be considered rude.

For the first time maybe in history, there is a means of communicating that cuts across all cultures and, for that matter, generations in the world today. It is the internet and various forms of social media.

In 2013, Eric Schmidt, Google’s Executive Chairman, predicted that the entire world would be on the internet within seven years [2]. With widespread internet access and over 2 billion Facebook users [3], the world is connected as never before.

In response to this, BSS had decided to entirely redo our website and to enter the arena of social media. As of August, the bssmatters.org site has been engineered anew with an entirely new look.

A wealth of information about our four basic areas of ministry and services is now available for your perusal. This includes:

Estate Planning – We can assist in setting up your Will and other documents if you have a desire to provide for any aspect of the Lord’s work in your estate. We have a non-solicitation policy and will not charge for assisting you with the Will set up.

Planned Giving – We can assist you in finding creative and tax advantageous ways to support the work of the Lord through the giving of some financial or real asset.

Church and Ministry Support – We minister to local fellowships and associated ministries by providing advice and services on tax matters, in governance and bylaw issues, and in asset management.

Wealth Management – We provide investment management services to the Lord’s people (both individuals and ministries). As a Registered Investment Advisor, we provide financial advice to the Lord’s people and manage investments for certain qualified individuals.

For those of you who make use of social media, be aware that BSS now has an active presence on:

BSS primarily serves U.S. believers, even while they minister to those at home and abroad. Still, America has many cultures in the world represented within it. Please pray for this ministry as we look to expand our outreach across cultures and generations.

While cultures and times change, the One constant is the lovely Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:8). He is the Living God and the One with Whom there is no shadow of turning (James 1:17). He’s still healing all of those who grab hold of the hem of His garment for spiritual healing – just like He did 2,000 years ago.

[1] http://www.cicb.net/en/home/examples

[2] http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/15/tech/web/eric-schmidt-internet/index.html

[3] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/06/27/facebook-now-has-2-billion-users-mark-zuckerberg-announces/

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