A few months ago, as I was sitting in my office, I began to think to myself, “I’m in here, but the world is out there”. I began to struggle with the notion that here I was, encouraging people to be a witness to their neighbors, friends, and co-workers, yet all the people who I engage on a daily basis are Christians. It was the proverbial, “do as I say, not as I do”. So I began to pray and ask God to show me how I can get outside of the walls of my office and my comfort zone and be a light in a world of darkness. About a month later, I received a phone call from a friend who I haven’t talked to in years. He is a fellow jazz piano player from Orlando. He called me and asked if I would be able to fill in to play a gig for a couple of weeks as he was going to be out of town. I was very reluctant to agree to accept, but when he told me that the gig was in DeLand, I was intrigued. I told him I would get back with him.
As I hung up the phone, I began to think of all the ways that I couldn’t do this gig. What would it do to my image as a minister of the gospel? How would people in my congregation react? Would people think I was living a double-life? These are all valid questions, but were they the right questions? I had been asking God, “how can I get outside of my comfort zone and engage my community in a meaningful and relevant way for the cause of Christ”? It was as if I was given a door to walk through, but I was making excuses. So I went and asked for and received wise counsel from some men I highly respect.
In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” After speaking with these men, they all said that being a witness to our community was important. If my avenue for witnessing to the community was to be a light in the world in a jazz gig, then go and be a light in the world.
In Mark 16:15, Jesus said, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” In this verse, we see that believers were commanded by Jesus to get out of their comfort zones, walk outside of the walls of their homes, offices, and churches, and engage the world around them. But how do we do this? I cannot answer this question for you, but I can share a wise word from the pastor of one of the largest churches in our nation. Craig Groeschel, the Pastor of Life Church in Oklahoma City said, “To reach people no one is reaching, we’ll have to do things no one is doing”. Groeschel also said, “We will do anything short of sin to reach people who don’t know Christ.”
So my question to you is this – How can you make an impact in DeLand for the sake of the gospel? Is that coaching a child’s sports team or volunteering at your local school’s PTA? Is that reading books in the library or cleaning up a distressed area in our community on a Saturday morning? Is that offering financial advice to a young couple just starting their life together or paying for someone’s utility bill that has a shut off notice because they had to choose to eat or have power? Is it playing a jazz gig in front of people are out to have a good time and engage them in meaningful conversation about God or serving the community through various organizations that help in improving our community? I don’t know what God is asking you to do, but I do know that God has told us to “GO” and be “LIGHT”. Stetson Baptist Church, let’s get out into our community and SHINE FOR JESUS!