God's Channels of Joy
By Al Reimche
2014 – the year that became synonymous with protests, extreme weather and ISIS. It seems that not a day has gone by without some news article addressing violence, riots, random killing, or a changing weather system, and our world questions what this all means. What a gift to turn a new page, a new year, and hang a new calendar on the wall. Yet we know that even a new page, a new year, or a new calendar won’t change this world. As the Bible aptly describes, “People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth….” Luke 21:26 NLT
I know, that is a terrible way to start an article that is to focus on the future, on a shiny new 2015. But in reality the future isn’t all that bright when viewed through our evening news. So what motivates you this year? What is it that you have placed on your New Year’s resolution list? Study more? Pray more? Share more? Because “it’s almost time for the Lord to come?” These are worthy resolutions. But resolutions based on fear don’t last.
I remember in my early teen years helping my dad with smoking cessation programs and watching a film called “One in Twenty Thousand,” which described the horrors of smoking right down to a removal of a cancerous lung with all the dramatics that could be mustered. At one of the showings, a friend of mine with aspirations of being an emergency medical technician passed out on the floor during the film. And yet within days of showing the film many of the smokers continued their habit. Fear had not worked, because fear is a weak motivator.
Just a couple of weeks ago I heard this thought from an article in the Review and Herald.
“The shortness of time is frequently urged as an incentive for seeking righteousness and making Christ our friend. This should not be the great motive with us; for it savors of selfishness. Is it necessary that the terrors of the day of God should be held before us, that we may be compelled to right action through fear? It ought not to be so. Jesus is attractive. He is full of love, mercy, and compassion. He proposes to be our friend, to walk with us through all the rough pathways of life.…
Jesus, the Majesty of heaven, proposes to elevate to companionship with Himself those who come to Him with their burdens, their weaknesses, and their cares. He will count them as His children, and finally give them an inheritance of more value than the empires of kings...” (RH August 2, 1881 Par. 6)
Jesus is attractive. He wants to be our companion. He is willing to take weak, resolution-breaking people and count them as His children. What motivation, what love, what amazing grace. It isn’t fear of the future that should motivate us, but the phenomenal love of an attractive Savior. And the beauty is that not only are we given that gift of love, but this crazy, fear-driven world is invited to share this new motivation for change.
“It is the privilege of every soul to be a living channel through which God can communicate to the world the treasures of His grace, the unsearchable riches of Christ. There is nothing that Christ desires so much as agents who will represent to the world His Spirit and character. There is nothing that the world needs so much as the manifestation through humanity of the Saviour’s love. All heaven is waiting for channels through which can be poured the holy oil to be a joy and blessing to human hearts.” – (COL 419.2)
My prayer for our conference, our churches and each one of us during 2015, is that the attractiveness of Jesus will be the motive that fills our lives with joy. As we experience His attractiveness and are motivated by His love, we will become the channels in this world of the Savior’s love, compassion, and grace. His people, His church — channels through which the holy oil can fill this world’s fearful hearts with joy. “For God so loved the world…”