Shining as Stars
12Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. 14Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. 17But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
Stars In The Night
Paul exhorts the church, and us, to “shine like stars in the universe”. I think most of us know that stars are actually always shining, even during the day. It is just the light of the sun is too bright to make out the light given off by very different stars. It is only during the night, after the sun sets, that we can make out the light of the stars…only when it is very, very dark.
It is only natural for us to be drawn to things that are whole and healthy. We choose the areas in which we lived based on that it’s safe, there are nice competitive schools there, there are lots of choices for church, and lots of Christians to fill those many churches. And by the same token, we find ourselves repulsed by and apprehensive of people and places that are deeply wounded and do not function well. This is only natural.
But however natural this mentality may be, it was not Christ’s mentality while on earth. While he walked and did ministry, he was drawn to people and cultures that were broken and alienated because he knew he alone possessed the answer to their brokenness – himself. He explained to his disciples in no uncertain terms that it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
As Christians, we have to resist the world’s lifestyle, and instead imitate this model of Christ. Instead of insulating ourselves against broken people, cultures and institutions, we want to instead actively engage with these things because we know we are living testimonies of God’s power to mend the broken. Part of our identity, and part of our calling, is not just to be able to discern between things that are broken and things that are whole…but to participate in God’s kingdom work of redeeming those broken things to their intended whole.
Because it’s in the darkness that our light shines all the brighter…
1. In what ways have you been isolating yourself from broken things?
2. What is one area of brokenness that God is calling you to engage with and try to mend?
3. What are ways that you practically stop isolating yourself from people and cultures that need your help?