I had a special afternoon recently. I had lunch with two “old” friends. My friends aren’t old but our friendship is one we enjoyed years ago – when our children were all very young – but life carried us in many different directions. Now, we are all in completely different places but are once again in proximity. Our friendship is rekindling and I am enjoying the blend of memories and new times.
At one point, we all went to church together. These days, we all go to different churches and all three of us have (relatively) new to us pastors. Over lunch, we talked – among so many things – about new churches, changing churches and the change in churches. The older I get, the more I tend to struggle with change. I try to listen and to observe change with an open mind but will admit, I’m not always successful with that.
While discussing different preaching styles, one friend noted (with a heavy sigh), “No one really preaches holiness anymore. The call for it. What it means to live holy lives….to “come out from among them and be separate” and just how needful it is.” We all sighed. I know that is a blanket statement but I knew what she meant. Not only do so many Christians simply want to blend in with the world, but there is seems to be little to no encouragement for those who would want to do otherwise.
But I believe God wants us to stand out. To be not only a witness and a light for Him, but to make an impact. I like this D.L. Moody quote, “A holy life will make the deepest impression. Lighthouses blow no horns, they just shine.” Yes, we share the gospel. Often, we need to speak up. But, even more often, we make an impact by simply shining. Interestingly, even the smallest light shines brightest when darkness deepens. A small flashlight beam might go unnoticed in a stadium of bright lights. But in a darkened room, it is a welcomed gift.
My friend did not make this observation to criticize her pastor but was simply observing the challenge she (all of us really) faces to live holy. That being true, we need to encourage each other. Whether over chips and salsa, with a quick text or a longer call when needed….we need to encourage one another. The Bible calls this exhorting one another. Exhortation is not only needful but helpful – for many things. But today, who can I encourage to stay strong? To swim upstream. To live holy and be a lighthouse.