You’re the light. For God’s sake, shine it.
MAY 16, 2023
You’re the light. For God’s sake, shine it. Let’s talk, on Key Life.
This is Key Life with our host, author, and seminary professor Steve Brown. He’s nobody’s guru, he’s just one beggar telling other beggars where he found bread. If you’re hungry for God, the real God behind all the lies, you’ve come to the right place.
Thank you Matthew. We are talking about loneliness. This was from a book that I wrote called Laughter and Lament. And it’s a chapter that I titled, Loneliness: The Curse of Loneliness. And it’s something that every human being feels and those who don’t are living in denial. In Ecclesiastes 4:11, and that’s a great book in the Bible. Don’t read it for your evening devotions or it’ll keep you awake all night because it’s the most honest. No, that’s, I was going to say, the most honest book in the Bible, but that’s not true. It’s all honest. Okay? But it is in your face about as much as any other book in the Bible. And the writer of the Ecclesiastes speaks so much wisdom.
If two lie together, they keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
And I said yesterday that we bring the light into the darkness, that Paul had said and this is Romans 12:15.
Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.
And I said yesterday, with all due respect to that truth, I believe Paul would’ve said something else. If the Holy Spirit had reminded him, he would’ve said, we are to weep with those who rejoice and rejoice with those who weep. When we get home, I’ll introduce you to my kid brother. He was my closest friend and died in his forties. He was a district attorney and probably would’ve been the governor by now. And I still miss him after all these years. I remember one time when I flew into North Carolina, the mountains of Asheville, where I grew up. And my brother picked me up at the airport. And we were driving to the home where I grew up to spend some time with our widowed mother, and then we were going to spend some time together. And as we were driving to the house where I grew up, my brother said, let me tell you a joke I just heard. And he told me the joke. Now, my brother was articulate beyond anything you can imagine. I mean, when he was in front of a jury, he shined. There were times when I would be there and want to stand up and shout to the courthouse. That’s my kid brother. Is he something else or what? But he couldn’t tell a joke, frankly. He just, I mean, he tried, but he did, he laughed at jokes and we laughed a lot. But every time he told a joke, he blew it and it wasn’t funny and he gets the punchline wrong. So, he told me this joke and I smiled and I said, Ron, you know you can’t tell jokes. He said, I know, I know, but I watched you walk from that plane and you looked so sad and you looked so down and you looked so tired, I wanted to cheer you up. And so, when you visit somebody that’s going through a time of darkness and the lament is what it’s all about. When you see that sort of thing, come alongside, say things like, I taste the salt of your tears. I get it. This is a hard thing to do, but if you know a joke, tell them the joke too because that is the part of the light that we bring into the darkness. It is said that when John Wesley was being shown through a rich man’s mansion, he said, wonderful, but these things are the things that make it hard for a man to die. He was, as it were, weeping with someone who was rejoicing by speaking hard truth. Not too long ago, I had a friend who was in the hospital and facing serious surgery. And I said to him, when I got there, what did you do? Offend a magician? And this is your curse? And he looked at me and I thought he was going to tell me to get out of his room. Then he smiled, and then he started laughing, and he told me later that that comment was from Jesus. The truth is that in the darkness, a part of our position as a part of the body of Christ is to walk in the darkness with our brothers and sisters and to bring the light. And then there’s one other thing, and then we’ll move on to another subject. Those in the light are an important part of the celebration when the light shines for those who were in the dark. Some Christians like to rain on the parades of other Christians, they have an Eeyore type personality, refuse to celebrate anything. They don’t have any trouble following Paul’s advice, weep with those who weep, but rejoicing with those who rejoice is sometimes the rub. Paul wrote to the Philippians about what God was doing through their prayers and support, and he says that he might even die. In fact, he was in jail when he wrote to them, and he wasn’t in jail for a parking ticket, he was in a scary place, but that God would come to him, he said, and be faithful. And then he says, Philippians 2:18.
You should be glad and rejoice with me.
Grace always runs downhill. After David fell in the sin and not popcorn sin, as you know, but the sin of murder and adultery, the prayer he prayed is recorded in Psalm 51: the 17th verse, he prayed.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart, oh God, you will not despise.
The place of a broken spirit and contrite heart are places of lament and release often followed by joy and restoration, that’s why the teaching of Alcoholics Anonymous is right on when they say that you sometimes have to get to the bottom before you look up. I have a recovering alcoholic friend who I was with when he reached the bottom. He had been to a family gathering and was so addicted that he drank the hand sanitizer in the bathroom. And that’s getting, that’s getting to the bottom. My friend had lost everything, his family, his job, his friends, and even his own self-respect. I loved him, and I was there to listen to the sound of his tears. And in fact, I often cried with him, than a miracle happened that made me less cynical than I am. He stopped drinking, joined Alcoholics Anonymous, got sober. As you may know, AA gives fairly heavy chips or coins to mark periods of sobriety. There is one for 24 hours, another for 30 days, another for 60 days, and so on. My friend gave me his first coin. And thereafter would send me the coins he was awarded. He needed somebody to celebrate with him, and he knew I would. Each time I would get a letter from him, I would shake it. You know what? Cause if it was heavy and something moved around in the inside, I knew that it was another coin that my brother had sent me. I can remember when I felt those coins, what I felt with those coins, when he would send them, joy and celebration, my friend knew that was the way I would react and my gift to him was celebration. His gift to me was a reason for celebration. My friend, the late Ray Stedman, for years the pastor of the a Bible Church in Palo Alto, California told me once about a staff member at the church who had sinned and had to be removed from the ministry position. It was a horrible time and the young man got a call from Ray saying, I want you to be in my office this afternoon at 2. And he said to himself, I don’t, I’ve done everything they’ve said. I’ve repented, I’ve gone through this and now they’re going to give me more. But he showed. And when he walked through Ray Stedman’s office door, all of the staff and all of the elders and all of the deacons in the church were there and they began to applaud. Not only that they had killed the fatted calf. Well, it was a pig with an apple in his mouth, and there were balloons and celebration and joy. That’s good. That’s what this is about. I’ll give you a reason to celebrate if you’ll celebrate with me. You think about that. Amen.
And that was Steve Brown continuing to teach us about loneliness. We’re continuing to explore the Biblical truths that informed his latest book, Laughter and Lament. Hope you’ll join us again tomorrow. Well, you may know this already, or perhaps you didn’t, or it just fell off your radar, but in less than two weeks, we’ll observe Pentecost Sunday celebrating that moment when the Holy Spirit fell upon the Apostles as recounted in Acts 2. So, it’s a timely thing that we recently spoke with Michael Reeves on Steve Brown Etc. about the Holy Spirit and the relationship that exists within the Trinity. Michael wrote a classic book called Delighting in the Trinity. What a word to use, right? But listen, when you hear that entire conversation, you will discover it makes total sense, and you can hear that entire conversation on CD when you call us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD or to mail your request go to Keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Just ask for the free CD featuring Michael Reeves. Finally, would you prayerfully consider partnering in the work of Key Life through your giving? Giving is easy. Just charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or join the growing number of folks who give safely and securely by text. Just text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Text that to 28950 and then follow the instructions. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.