I watched President Obama’s State of the Union address last evening. I think I’m reasonably informed on U.S. issues and of course my annual July 4th ritual is to watch the Fireworks Spectacular on the US Networks. Honestly, the Boston Pops concert is one of my favourite musical television events especially with its powerful rendition of the 1812 Overture of Tchaikovsky.
Last week in one of our TBS chapels, our Principal, Rev. Kirk Wellum, engaged our thinking as he helped us critique an article critiquing evangelicalism. The author of that article had expressed his concern that evangelicalism often seemed more political than spiritual. As a Baptist by conviction I’ve often pondered the “separation of church and state” a topic that has created its share of angst throughout many centuries. Is there such thing as a Christian political party? What does it mean to be “salt” and “light?” Even a prayer time last evening with a great group of men in Oshawa engaged further thinking as we obeyed 1 Timothy 2:1ff and prayed for those in authority over us. But I digress…..
Luke, the author of the third gospel and subsequent early Church History overview (known as Acts), was a careful researcher and historian. He regularly dated events in his biographical sketch of Jesus, who is called the Christ.
Consider Luke 3 where he introduces the ministry of the “greatest” prophet (Consider what Jesus said in Matthew 11:11 “I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; – Now that’s some endorsement, isn’t it?). Luke cites
i) Tiberius Caesar; 2) Pontius Pilate; 3) Herod of Galilee; 4) Philip of Iturea and Traconitis; 5) Lysanias (as Political Leaders) and then 6) Annas; 7) and Caiaphas (as Religious Leaders). But as a dear brother in the Lord from Peterborough, Andy Bowes, reminded me this past Sunday–“The word of God came to John…” and not to any of the aforementioned leaders.
One does not need to hold political power to be God’s spokesman. One does not need an empire, a province or region to govern, in order to serve God’s purpose. In fact, holding power may feed one’s pride and may develop a self-sufficiency which turns one’s heart away from God. Consider the arrogance of Nebuchadnezzar who, after surveying his political accomplishments, mused “Is not this the great Babylon I have built….by MY mighty power and for the glory of MY majesty?”
Accomplishments are a wonderful thing! All of us have our awards, trophies and citations. But like the apostle Paul we must make the following assessment – “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss COMPARED to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord….”
Perhaps every genuine Christ-follower who longs to be a spokesman for God should pray with the hymnwriter “Lord, speak to me, that I may speak in living echoes of Thy tone…..” Amen and amen!!!!