For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “no” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. (Titus 2:11-12 NIV)
I woke up with this scripture ringing in my head the other day and then it dawned on me, God’s grace in our lives speaks.
Every time we refuse to go out and get drunk in that office party, every time you refuse to have pre-marital or extra-marital sex, every time you refuse to accept cutbacks and kickbacks, every time you choose not to falsify figures at work, you’re speaking!
In fact St. Peter reminds us: For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. (1 Peter 4:3-5 NIV)
I read about a young Christian man called Dave, an accountant in the City of London. He had finally secured an interview in his dream job, a prominent accounting firm and he was excited; however the firm had a reputation for sharp practices but he wasn’t daunted despite well-meaning advice.
Dave indeed got the job and on the first day was presented with his first challenge to “tweak” some figures. Dave refused and when he has summoned up to the CEO’s office he expected the worst.
The man took a long hard look at him and eventually extended his hand to Dave saying: “We’ve been waiting for someone like you.” Within a short period of time he was promoted to being a manager and was instrumental in turning around both their productivity reputation.
When Jesus healed a man of evil spirits in Mark 5, the gentleman wanted to follow Him about but He wouldn’t let him, instead he says: Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you’ (Mark 5:19 NIV)’
Jesus was saying to him, go into your own world (cosmos in the Greek), your own circle of friends or sphere of influence and there speak!
Never than in this present time has the world needed a clear and consistent voice to resound from those of us who are the ecclesia (the church, the ‘called-out’ ones). The church is not and has never been a building, it’s a people!
You see there are some people whom you know that I may never get the opportunity to meet or speak to and vice versa, therefore yours may be the only voice they will ever hear! In fact there are a few people I went to school with who are now in a different continent to me or who may have passed on, I only hope I made the brief interaction I had with them count.
Maybe you feel you’re alone in that job, maybe you’re dealing with a difficult spouse or children, perhaps it’s members of your own family or friends; God sent me to remind you that your voice matters! In the words of St Francis:
All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.
Francis of Assisi, The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi
And my all time favourite:
Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.
Francis of Assisi
Be blessed as you soldier on in this journey, we win.
Dr Joseph Omofuma
Pastor, Grace Community Church