When we read the word ‘nations’ we often think of countries, currently, there are 195 of them. When the Bible uses the word nations (from the Greek ‘ethne’), it is referring to people groups. A people group shares a common language, history and identity. When Jesus gave us his Great Commission, He commanded us to make disciples of all nations.
The Joshua Project estimates that of the 17,297 people groups in the world, 7,367 are currently unreached by the Gospel. Billions of people, from every country, have never heard of Jesus. “All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord; they will bring glory to your name.10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.” Psalm 86:9-10 (NIV)
Here in the United States, we are wrestling with issues of race and justice. God’s eternal plan is that people from every nation will worship Him, to bring Him glory. He calls Christians to take part in His plan, loving our neighbors enough to tell them about Jesus. He wants us to share His love in tangible ways. Sometimes our neighbors don’t look like we do, or act like we do. We can find neighbors on our streets, at our jobs, or in another country across the world. Maybe they have a different language or skin color, some different customs or religions. Those differences aren’t really what we should be seeing. What we need to focus on is that they are the neighbors God calls His people to love. This kind of love is not natural for broken, sinful people.
Praise God that He makes us new, forgives, enables and strengthens us so that we can love as He calls us to do. “Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. 12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.” Psalm 86:11-12 (NIV)