Last week I was busy counseling at work. No, I am not a professional therapist. But my co-workers frequently approach me with personal problems and questions. One day last week, three different people came to me with needs. These interesting encounters continually remind me that in the ordinary experiences of life every one of us can bring the light of Christ to those in darkness.
Immediately after lunch break, one person came to my work area, faced me square-on and said, “I need to vent.” He proceeded to unload the burden of his 13 year-old son, who lived his first seven years in severe neglect, then was given foster care and later adopted by my co-worker friend and his wife. He has shared the burden of his son with me several times before, but this time he had just received a call from his wife about a potential crisis that was developing. I listened carefully. As he turned to leave I assured him that I would be praying for him and his son while I worked.
Later our team leader, a very self-confident person, stood in the same place and discussed a problem from that morning. Our supervisor was unfairly blaming him for an error. He wanted to know how he should have responded. I needed to acknowledge a legitimate grievance without “scoring points” with my co-worker at my boss’s expense. Having had similar grievances at another job, I presented the attitude that the Lord has taught me from I Peter 2:18-25.
The third opportunity came shortly after the announcement of our company Christmas party. In the chatter that ensued, one of the first topics of discussion was whether our company would be providing alcoholic drinks. It was quickly decided that no Christmas party would be complete without plenty of booze, so we could rest assured. As it turned out, our company bought one drink per person.
To my surprise, a co-worker turned and asked me if I would be drinking. This surprised me because he could have guessed the answer based on what he knew of me. What was even more surprising was the reason he asked. It was not that he wanted my drink. It turns out that he had battled drunkenness in his recent past. He was hoping that I would sit with him at the party to give him the moral support to abstain. So I did. Someone else got my drink, but my friend and I enjoyed each other’s company—sober .
We are needed where the darkness is greatest. This means spending more time with people who drink, use bad language, like crude entertainment, come from broken homes and/or are in them, or perhaps have just left church and don’t want to go back. Speaking from my own experience, I enjoy every one of my friendships with non-Christians, including my co-workers, for their own sake. I have found these relationships very fulfilling and challenging to me in a good way.
But these kinds of friendships can make many uncomfortable; maybe a little scared. So we stay in comfortable places with our Christian friends. We shine our light where it’s needed the least.
Eileen Berry from Bob Jones University’s SoundForth Music has written a song that captures the attitude that we must relearn. It’s called “Come to the Light.” This beautiful new song captures the essence of our message. Why not take this winsome message to those around us with confidence and joy? Here are some reasons to do so.
Our ultimate victory has already been secured.
We have the personal permanent presence of the Holy Spirit of God everywhere we go.
Underneath the surface of others’ lives, there is a lot of pain and brokenness. (Sometimes it’s right on the surface).
We have the realistic view of the cause of this pain and brokenness: our sinfulness.
We have the only permanent remedy for this problem: God’s forgiveness.
We go to others with humble confidence because God has forgiven us.
We have received the gift. We are inviting others to share it.
We have left the darkness and now walk in the light.
Our invitation is, come to the light!