Ansell: Christ-followers shine 'as lights in the world'
God still does amazing things. He still changes lives, He saves people and transforms them into what my missionary friend Micheal would call “something beautiful.”
I go through a Bible about every four years. I write and highlight, take notes in the margins, circle, underline, write dates and the names of people I’m studying specific passages with. After a few years, I’ve got pages that are loose from the binding and writing and arrows and asterisk marks on top of asterisk marks so I have to buy a new Bible and start all over.
The other day I was looking at the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians, which is gold by the way, and next to chapter 2:15 that tells us as Christ-followers we “shine … like stars lights in the sky” some translations say, ”shine as lights in the world.” Next to this verse is the name of a man named Ron Dell. Every new Bible I get I always write his name next to this verse. Ron started coming to a church I pastored, and he never left. He was there every week with his Bible ready to hear and do (James 1:22).
One day I was standing outside the church building, and Ron was on his way home and he saw me and so he pulled into the parking lot. I shared with Ron that I was out there praying (hey, I’m a pastor and it’s what we do) for God to draw people into the church building for the Sunday service. Ron said, “Ken, I’m an answer to that prayer. I drive by this building every day going to and from work, and one day I decided I was going to go to church.” Ron was a real up and comer in the church, he shined like a light or a star.
After several months of steady attendance and service to the Lord, I got a call from a man named Jack. Jack was Ron’s neighbor, and he told me that he had found Ron dead that morning.
We found out Ron suffered from an addiction, and his addiction finally caught up with him. The truth is God doesn’t always calm our storms, but He does give us strength as we persevere through the storms of life. Ron’s addiction didn’t make him less of a Christian, in fact my experience is sometimes the biggest sinners make the best Christians. Ron loved Jesus; he just had some hurts, hang ups and habits - and we all do.
The church lost a good friend that day, but Ron’s neighbor Jack and his family started attending after that. They drove 40 miles every Sunday to worship. Jack shined too; he was a real light. He had problems that were different from Ron, but still challenges.
Can I ask you a question? Where else should people go but to the church (it represents Christ in the world) to find help? Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners (Mark 2:17).”
My prayer is more people would turn to God for help, help with their sin and help with the effects of sin. God is good and He’s good all the time, and we can trust Him. He is “an ever present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1).”
If you are hurting, find a church, roll in like Ron, find Jesus and start to shine. He told me to tell you that.