THE LIGHT AND lists (not capitals because they’re not important)
Luke 8: 16-18 “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. 17 For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.18 Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.”
Many simply interpret this passage of Jesus with the filter of avoiding sin, secret sin, exposing sin or the judging of sin. I think we have missed what Jesus is saying. I also think when we become so engrossed in eradicating sin from this world through placards and outspoken tweets and enraged arguments then we have lost sight of the Saviour.
Why do so many Church people become fixated with sin?
Why do the world know more about what we are against than what we are for?
Why did Jesus seem to spend more time with sinners and talked more about the sin of those who thought they were not sinners than those he was eating and drinking with?
I truly believe Jesus wouldn’t get accepted in many pastoral search committees.
There’s a Jesus we don’t want.
We all have our own Jesus, made in our own image. (Is that blasphemy?!)
Why do we talk about sin so much? We have lost the smell of sinners in many quarters of the Church. We describe this as purity but I don’t think it is.
Recently I have been discovering a world of hate on twitter. But I have been weeping over where this world is staged, within the kingdom of Christ. Anger expressed over women preaching, anger because someone dared suggest we should love muslims and gay people, such anger that it feels like a kingdom of darkness. Where is the light? Where is the joy? Some of these angry people I would not want at one of my parties that’s for sure!
One of my pet hates is going into a smoke-filled room as a non-smoker because the smell is on my clothes and in my hair etc. Those who are also not smokers will come near me and turn their nose up and say, ‘Paul you stink, have you been smoking?!!’ It is hard to defend because I certainly smell like I have!
The truth is, I took on the effects of sin in that atmosphere. Isn’t that the incarnation? Jesus became one of us and he smelled of sin so much so that when he took on our sins at the cross people accused him of being the worst sinner, cursed by God! You see the true battle with sin is when we embrace the sinner, when we love our way through the pain and effects of sin and we run the risk of being judged by man for being soft on sin. That’s when the battle intensifies. In some places the most ruthless battle over sin is not on the cross as much as at the church door.
So what is this text about? This will help …
“No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a washtub or shoves it under the bed. No, you set it up on a lamp stand so those who enter the room can see their way. We’re not keeping secrets; we’re telling them. We’re not hiding things; we’re bringing everything out into the open. So be careful that you don’t become misers of what you hear. Generosity begets generosity. Stinginess impoverishes.” (The Message).
It is about the LIGHT not lists. His LIGHT. We don’t have a problem with darkness when JESUS is here. This is how Luke ends the parable of the sower and the reason Jesus gives for him coming to the towns and villages.
Basically it is this …
Jesus is the LIGHT, this amazing new kingdom announcer, revealing a kingdom that no one has known. It is not a hidden kingdom, it is not a cult with secret practices that no one knows. No, it is a wide-open invitation to the whomsoever kingdom. The parables that Jesus tells are the unlocking of the mysteries and secrets of this kingdom. So, if you can hear then Shema! Listen, hear and do. Copy. Give this same LIGHT to others, don’t give them lists of what they cannot do, encourage them into what they can do and who they can be in this kingdom. Let the world know what you stand for. Be generous with what you have. Of course if you don’t have this LIGHT then you cannot give it. If you do have it and don’t share it then you will become poor and it will be taken from you, the LIGHT will die.
So with all my heart I plead with the Church to please put the lists down and shine Jesus