Religion of Sunday, 27 April 2014
Source: Dr. Daniel Gyebi
You are a special person. It is not because of your position or possessions or other superficial things, but because the Almighty God created you in His own image and gave up His Son Jesus Christ to die for your sins. God placed you over and above all His vast and marvelous creation. God has endowed each and every one of us with gifts and excellent qualities, even though some people’s may be more obvious than others’. All of us need to find ways to bring out those gifts and excellent qualities and let them shine for the benefit of others.
Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is our source of light. (John 8:12). Jesus is the light of the world and has transferred some of the light unto Christians. Whoever walks with Christ will never walk in darkness. That is why Christ says that we are the light of the world…so we should let our light shine before men that they may see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven. (Matthew 5: 14-16). Therefore, when your light seems dim, and you cannot shine, go to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to shine His light on you.
Many of us will not be at the centre stage of life where our words, actions and photographs would be circulated to the world. Many of us will live a normal, quiet life. However, each one of us is important in our own small way, in our own little corner, so brighten the corner where you are.
In the natural world, there are three celestial bodies that give natural light. These are the sun, the moon, and the stars. What would happen if the sun, moon, and stars refuse to give their light? There would be total darkness! Similarly, as bad as we think things are in this world, it would have been worse if Christians were not in this world to shine our light and intercede with God. Ten righteous people could have saved Sodom and Gomorrah from destruction after Abraham pleaded with the angels of God, but God could not find the ten there (Genesis 18).
The sun, the moon, and the stars produce light, but each shines differently. (1 Corinthians 15:41). The sun comes out during the day and the moon and the stars come out at night. The sun or the moon is much bigger than a star, but all of them shine in their own ways. Therefore, you should not feel badly if you do not shine as brightly as others, but shine anyway. If you are like the sun, shine like the sun! If you are like the moon, shine like the moon! And if you are like a star, shine like a star! Many young children around the world would like to grow up to become stars – a movie star, a music star, football star, soccer star, basketball star, baseball star etc. How many of us would encourage our children to become a Jesus star? Which one of us would like to spread hope and joy with the light Christ has given us?
How do you brighten the corner where you are? You do so by living the life of Christ. You do so by spreading the love of God. The term “Christian” or “Christians” was first used by the people of Antioch to describe the early disciples and followers of Christ in Antioch. (Acts 11:26). Let people see Christ in you. It has been said that Christians are the Bible unbelievers read. If we are a walking Bible, then we should let our lives shine. Light shines the brightest when the darkness is deepest. Therefore, when people around you are turning against God, and what is condemned by God is commended by men, you are not to join them, but to stand firm in the faith. When the darkness deepens, and you see change and decay all around you, it is then that you sing the hymn, “Abide With Me” and the song, “This Little Light of Mine.” It is then that you let your light shine the brightest. It is then that you strive to be the one who would stand up for Christian values, for justice, for peace, and for equality. Christ needs someone who will turn miseries into miracles; who will turn defeat into victory; and who will be an agent of change for God.
I would like to tell you stories about two of my stars in the Bible who made a big difference in the lives of people, but whose names are not even known. In 2 Kings 5, a young girl from Israel had been captured as a slave and sent to Aram, a strange land far away from her home. There, she served in the home of Naaman, the commander of the army in that land. Naaman was a very powerful person, but he had the disease of leprosy. In those days, if you had leprosy you were treated as an outcast. This young girl whose name we do not know, was bold enough to tell her madam that a prophet in Samaria could heal Naaman. Consequently, Naaman went to Samaria where the Prophet Elisha healed him. Naaman praised the God of Israel after the healing. Can you imagine what would have happened to this slave girl if Naaman had not been healed after travelling all the way to Samaria? The young girl exercised faith in God and God rewarded her faith by healing Naaman and bringing joy to the Naaman household. Christians are a bundle of God’s blessings. How many people have been blessed by you or through you? Have you shown anyone the way to Jesus lately? Today, many people are suffering from spiritual “leprosy” and living wretched lives. They need someone like you and me to point them to Christ. Would you be the one? Take a step of faith. Spread your blessings around. Let your life so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify God.
The young girl did not play victim, pity herself, or blame God for her servitude, as some of us would have done. Instead, she brightened her little corner in a far away land. God may have brought her there to proclaim His name. Therefore, even if you are in bondage, God will be with you. The God of Jonah will be with you at the bottom of the Sea, and so will the God of Moses on the mountain top, and the God of Daniel in the lion’s den. Do not let your present conditions prevent you from doing good deeds or praising God. That is, do not wait for things to improve in your life before you let your light shine. If you are a junior worker, for example, do the best you can and let your light shine in the position the Lord has placed you. If you think that you can only do your best when you become a manager, you may be deceiving yourself. Practice makes perfect. You need to demonstrate exemplary qualities while you are a junior worker so that you may become perfect by the time you reach a managerial position. Wherever you are and whatever your conditions, brighten that corner because God is with you.
The second story is a familiar one about Jesus feeding five thousand people, as recorded in John chapter 6. Many of us do not recognize one of the stars in that story. There was a boy with five small loaves of bread and two small fish. He is a star and hero in that story. In case you do not fully appreciate what the boy did, let me ask you this: how many of us can eat five loaves of bread and two fish? If you can, you are the type of person that many people would think twice before inviting to their homes for dinner! Perhaps, this boy’s parents knew that he had a big appetite for food and could eat very well! Despite his apparent big appetite for food, he gave all his food to Jesus and Jesus blessed it to feed a multitude of people. A few people there may have had some food, perhaps in larger quantities, but only this boy gave his. Christ said elsewhere that whoever gives cold water to his disciples will certainly not lose his reward. (Matthew 10:42). If Jesus needed our last food or drink, would we give it to Him? If Jesus needed our last Cedi, Dollar, Pound, Euro or the last of any currency, would we give it to him?
Time is not on our side for me to tell you about many others, such as the little boy Samuel through whom God delivered an important message to Eli, the priest. The boy had been brought to the temple to serve under Eli and, although he was too young to know God, God rewarded his service and dedication by bypassing Eli and delivering the message through him. (1 Samuel 3). Then, there was Mary Magdalene. Many Christians agree that the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ signaled the birth of the Church. And who was given the honour by the resurrected Christ to tell the disciples that he had risen? It was not Peter, John, James or any of the eleven disciples. It was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom Jesus had cast out seven demons. (Mark 16:9; John 20:10-18). Mary had gone to the tomb earlier and, on seeing the empty tomb, rushed home to tell Peter and another disciple. When they came to confirm the empty tomb, Peter and the other disciple left while Mary stood by the tomb alone crying. That was when Jesus revealed himself to her with a message to the brethren. Thus, Mary Magdalene became the first “evangelist” of the post-resurrection era. Mary’s devotion to Christ and her due diligence paid off. It pays to be alone to feel the presence of the Lord. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, wipe your tears and cheer up when you find yourself alone facing what seem to be insurmountable problems, such as the death of a loved one, sickness, financial crisis, unemployment, business failure, or failure of a certain task. You may not necessarily be alone because the Lord is with you. Take it to Him in prayer. Whoever, whatever, or wherever you are, seize the opportunity in your own small way to brighten that corner.
I believe that there were many stars in the skies when Jesus was born, but only one special star led the three wise men to Baby Jesus. (Matthew 2:9-11). Wise men and women are still seeking Jesus. Would you lead them to Jesus Christ? I challenge you to be the one special person who brings someone to Christ or shines the light for someone to see his or her way out of a difficult problem. I challenge you to spread the Good News of Jesus to people around you. I challenge you to live the life of Christ by doing and saying what Christ would do or say and refraining from doing or saying what Christ would not do or say. That is how you brighten the corner wherever you are.
Prayer is the key. May God grant us the grace to seek Him daily through our prayers.
Dr. Daniel Gyebi, Attorney-at-Law, Texas, U.S.A., and Founder, PrayerHouse Ministry, Kumasi, Ghana.
PrayerHouse Ministry is dedicated to providing a quiet facility for Christians to pray individually by themselves without any intermediary priest, pastor or any other person. This is a free service. No money is demanded or accepted. The facility is located at Kyerekrom / Fumesua, near Building and Road Research Institute Offices, one mile off the Kumasi-Accra Road and next to a house called Grace Castle. If you are interested, please contact Agnes at 027-7423815.