22nd October 2012

What’s Your Spiritual Candlepower?

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven”
Matthew 5:14-16 (NKJV) 

The telephone rang. I picked up the receiver. “Hello?” “Is that you, John? Hello?” [pause] “It is John Stettaford, isn’t it?” said an overly cheerful voice. Immediately I was on my guard. 

“It depends on who wants to know.” I have long rehearsed this answer from years of cold-calls, as they are known. They ring you, cold, with the hope that they can interest you in whatever they have to sell before you ring off.  “Who are you?” I demanded.  “My name is [unintelligible] and I’m ringing you about [name of company’s] new products. “Why?” I asked. It never fails to flummock them because that answer isn’t on their crib sheet of likely answers from suitable punters. 

“We thought you’d be interested to know,” he gushed on after another short pause. “Well, I’m not. I have no interest at all.” Again a pause. This was not on his crib sheet either. But he rallied. Ten out of ten for trying. “We have a range of great services. I know you’ll be interested when I tell you all about them.”  “Nice try,” I responded. “But let’s not waste my time, even if you want to waste yours.” And I put down the receiver. Nicely, I hope, because he was only doing his job. 

But it’s good that God doesn’t act that way. If you equate prayer with a telephone call (it would presumably be long-distance and with charges reversed when we make the call), we never have God call us up and solicit us cold for some service he has to offer. He waits for our call—and waits very patiently. 

We are surrounded, I regret to say, by religionists. They mean well. They would be upset if you questioned their Christianity, their sincerity, their conversion. They try awfully hard because they believe with all their being that if they don’t save you and me now we will burn forever in a super-hot hell. I sometimes wonder what kind of God they worship. (If you have problems with this, read our Statement of Beliefs which briefly answers the question.  Accessible from www.wcg.org.uk

Well, it’s true the Bible says that any who reject God’s grace after he has revealed it to them, will end up as ashes under the soles of the saved. But, notice, not red hot ashes, but ashes burned to a crisp and then gone out as ashes usually do. Cold ashes. But it is obvious that God has not revealed the wonder of His salvation to the majority in this world—not yet. We can best help the cause by living that life of grace we have been called to, and living it visibly, as Jesus taught us, so that people will wonder about us and eventually ask. We are to be lights, not fog horns or bull horns. Lights on a hill, lamps in the centre of a room, or, to use a modern analogy, torches to lead people safely home. Or even as a lighthouse beam. What spiritual candlepower do you reckon you might be?

 Prayer
Most merciful Father, thank you for continuing to clarify what you want us to think, to say and to do. May we in all three become greater encouragers of each other, and more successful edifiers of everyone we meet, following Jesus’ example. in whose name we pray.
Amen

Study by John Stettaford

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