The Pastor's Pen: Shine Don't Whine

July 3, 2017

by Graeme Shanks

It has been a crazy few months in politics. Declarations. Expectations. Revelations. Complications. Resignations. Negotiations. As I’ve listened and watched over the last while, it has struck me again that, as a nation, we revel in humiliation. Commentators, comics and journalists have been having a field day as the political drama continues to unfold in front of us. Of course, some of it is genuinely comical, but it feels to me inherently wrong as a Christian to revel in someone else’s misfortune. We may not agree with the current state of politics, the policies, the people or the issues and given the unpredictable nature of the result, it most likely didn’t produce outcome we hoped for or voted for. However, Christ calls us, as his people, to think and act differently from the world around us.

I’ve been enjoying getting my teeth into Paul’s letter to the Philippians over the past few months. What has particularly struck me, is how often Paul urges this Christian community to think differently. It’s not any old mindset that they are urged to adopt; it’s the mind of Christ. When it comes to interacting with the world, Paul writes;

“14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life.” - Philippians 2:14-16 (NIV)

What will it mean to ‘shine’ in our current climate? Let me suggest a few things;

1. Let’s pray not groan.

Let’s pray for our leaders. Let’s pray that God would show them grace and grant them wisdom as they seek to lead our nation. Let’s pray particularly for the Christian politicians as they seek to witness and work for Christ in a difficult environment.

2. Let’s display not retreat.

Let’s take an interest and seek to make a difference in the life of our nation. How can we practically make a difference in our community? What needs done? Most of all, let’s put the beauty of the church, the diversity in unity that we have in Christ, on full display. We’ve seen all too tragically the frustrations and barriers that still exist in our country.

What an opportunity we have as a church to glorify God by showing that He, through his Son Jesus Christ and by his Spirit, has broken down barriers and brought different people together under the banner of his Son. Church is no fake community playing at happy families, we are one body!

3. Let’s trust not fret.

‘Strong and stable’ leadership is the order of the day. But who can provide it? As we step into the unknown, does anyone know what they are doing? Does anyone know what will happen next? Well, what a comfort to know, that we worship a God who doesn’t just know what will happen next, but who knows the end from the beginning. As his people, he calls us to trust him. We can trust him with the little and we can trust him with the big. We really do have a great big God who holds us in his hands. Let’s not just enjoy and keep this truth to ourselves, let’s point others to His care.

Sinclair Ferguson writes, ‘As Children we learned to say: ‘Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are.’ Christians who are lights shining in this world’s darkness will make others ask similar questions. You are the light of the world. Shine!’