Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on top of a lampstand, and it shines on all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:15-16
It’s a cold day here in North Carolina. The thermometer read 17-degrees when I walked this morning, right now it’s 24 and sunny (just before 10:00), and we’ll likely see highs around 37 in the afternoon.
Yes, I understand we’re not in the “polar vortex” situation our friends in higher latitudes are experiencing, but this confirms our feeling that moving to Wake Forest was most definitely north enough! It’s been cold long enough now that the house itself has become cold. The walls, the frame, the bricks, the siding, the windows, the doors, the basement, the roof, the attic, the ductwork. In a sense the cold is penetrating our outer defenses, pressing in, and the furnace has to work that much harder to stay ahead.
The world needs this good news:
In describing this house, and how the structure itself eventually reaches an equilibrium with the ambient temperature, I started to think about our church, and how the positive energy we have seen grow here over the past few years has infiltrated not just the leaders and the people, but the energy, the worship, the discipleship, the mission, the structure, the foundations, and the witness – energizing the community around us too.
One of the guys in my men’s group shared how strongly he can feel this every Wednesday evening. “The CLC filled with so many people,” he said. “Eating dinner together around the tables, heading off to probably 15 different activities. You can just feel the energy. It’s beautiful.”
We live in this world where people seem to have forgotten how to listen to one another, how to learn from others, how to exchange opposing views with respect. It is a world where few people experience true community. It is a world very much in need of the good news that the church tells – Jesus and his invitation to “love one another the same way I have loved you.”
Accept each other with love:
And how does Jesus love us? God loves us equally, without regard to our politics or our opinions. My post focused on this yesterday, and it’s worth mentioning again – “Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love” (Ephesians 4:2).
The ten men who sat around the table with me Wednesday evening, studying the first chapter of James, are all over the map when it comes to politics, social issues, and a host of theological and doctrinal ideas we hold dearly. But we accept each other with love, we respect conflicting points of view, we seek God’s way for us together, and we all agree that there are many things about which we could be wrong.
For a while in the history of this church it was the ambient temperature outside (arrogance, polarization, argument, bombast, self-righteousness, division) that dictated the climate inside the walls. That is no longer the case. Now the situation is reversed.
What this world needs is more of what I described earlier; this world needs the positive energy we have seen grow at WFPC to infiltrate its leaders, the people, the community, and the government.
“Let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven…” Matthew 5:15-16
Here’s my question:
So here’s my question about the church where you worship: Is it negatively impacted by the divisive, polarized state of the world? Or – alternatively – is the world positively impacted by the light that the church shines before people? Does our witness cause the world to see the good things we do and, in consequence, praise God?
This is the Gospel! This is the Good News! We are not called to be right all the time, we are called to be light all the time, and to demonstrate love.
What an amazing opportunity! – DEREK