Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Shining like stars (Philippians 2:12-18)

What would it take for us to shine like stars (or be beacons of hope) for this world?

In Philippians 2:14-15, the Apostle Paul writes, Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.... The grumbling and arguing described here is grumbling against God and arguing with fellow Christians. The idea of 'shining like stars' is the idea of illuminating the darkness with a guiding light or a beacon. Following through on both of theses actions would result in Christ followers reflecting God's light out into the world to draw non-believers to Him.

The whole point of this passage is to get those of us who have already received salvation to effectively share it with others. Have you ever found a group of grumblers and complainers attractive? Probably not. If we are going to invite others into our Christian fellowship (which is part of our 'work' or ministry as Christians), then we need to first get our houses in order - and in many cases that applies to our church 'homes' as well as our family dwellings.

So back to the beginning question of 'What would it take for us to shine like stars (or be beacons of hope) for this world?' It might take asking yourself some very hard questions. It might take figuring out how to really let Jesus be light and hope in your own life first. We can't reflect what isn't there and if you are not allowing God's Holy Spirit to work in your life, then you can't be an effective minister for Christ in your home, your church, or the world at large.

When we let God have free rein in our lives we will be joyful no matter what our earthly circumstances might be and we will be able to reflect that joy to the world without trying. Where you most powerfully reflect that joy in the world will be the place God calls you to minister. 

In Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC, Frederick Buechner wrote, "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet." This could mean almost anything because as Abraham Kyper said in 1880, "... there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: 'Mine!'"

Perhaps you are called to be a 'safe' place for moms to 'confess' their struggles in motherhood. Perhaps you are called to walk with those who are experiencing grief or a serious illness. Maybe you are called to coach kids in an extracurricular sport or activity because you can mentor those girls or boys in such a way as to shine God's love and light into their little souls. Maybe you are called to nourish people's bodies with good food, or help people laugh by showing them how to see everyday events in a more light hearted way.

We are all 'gifted' for ministry in this world but in order to be effective, we must allow God to lead us to the place where He needs us. We must first let God put us in 'order' so that we can be people who become beacons for Him in this world.

-Chesney Szaniszlo