“Send the light, the blessed gospel light; let it shine from shore to shore! Send the light, the blessed gospel light; Let it shine forevermore!” — “Send the Light” by Charles H. Gabriel. Baptist hymnal #595
November 6 was the day to set clocks back one hour from the Daylight Savings time that began in March. Although an extra hour of sleep was a blessing, the sun sets earlier in the evening now.
By December, most of us drive home in the dark after work. It is at this time of year we notice the darkness because there is less daylight in the twenty-four hour day. December is a month of anticipation. We anticipate Christmas and anticipate the return of the light. This is one reason why candles and Christmas lights are so popular during the Christmas season.
John’s gospel shares the words of our Lord when he declares, “We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” — John 9-4-5 [ESV]
We live in a dark world. Sin abounds. Rejection of the gospel is proudly proclaimed by non-believers (and Christians as well). The church is called to a difficult job. Christians are called to be the light that our darkened world so desperately desires to see. I challenge us all who claim salvation through the blood of Jesus and boast in his name to reflect His light during these dark months. Let us work together in cooperation to ease the depression many of our neighbors face at this time. The economy has taken a hit, but we can cooperate together to shine the light of Jesus to everyone.
“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.” — 1 Corinthians 3:7-9 [ESV]
One individual light is limited in how effective it can cut through the darkness. It is when many lights shine together that a large swath of light is seen at a great distance. Southern Baptists are known for cooperation in spreading the gospel. We must cooperate together with like-minded, bible believing Southern Baptist Churches to be an effective light.
Let us beware of those who would seek to hinder the light of the gospel. Well intended efforts of cooperation can lead to a hindered gospel message when only one party does not agree that hope only comes through a new life in Christ. It is through Christ that lives are changed. Free food, clothing and shelter are blessings to a dark world, but it is the light of Jesus that will truly make a difference. Let us seek to work with those who share the same passion for the gospel that we do as a church. Cooperation is only effective when all involved shine the same light in the same manner pointing all who need Christ to Christ.
May God richly bless you this Christmas season and may he grant you a blessed new year in 2012.
In HIS Grip
Pastor Bryant Owens