Unfortunately, the modern day church has almost completely forgotten about her role and responsibility in National Transformation. THE ROLE OF THE CHURCH IN NATIONAL TRANSFORMATION.
Most believers and the clergy almost always seek to detach the church from the society for which she was established. As a pastor and a student of the Bible, it is still a mystery to me where the modern church derives her theology of total separation of the church and the society.
Reading and studying the Bible on a daily basis myself for the past 30 years, I see a totally different world view. I see a God that is absolutely interested in the day to day running of the world including governments. I see a God that will not allow himself to be isolated from His creation. Psalms 24:1 proudly proclaims it that “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof…”
Notice that in the above scripture God is not even saying the earth is man’s even though man has been entrusted with the earth, to temporarily run and manage it. However, the glory of the earth must belong to the Lord, because the earth is the Lord’s. Everything any man does on earth must be to give glory to God. Whether it is in government or in commerce. From this scripture, how could we possibly say, God and the Church should not have a role to play, in managing the affairs of the earth which He created for His own glory?
The story of God’s interaction with the children of Israel in the Old Testament teaches us one vivid lesson; which is, God rules in the affairs of men. How could we say after that, that God and the Church does not have a role to play in the day to day running of nations?
I will not spend too much time presenting my case from the Old Testament. For many will say, that was the old dispensation. I would rather present my arguments from the new dispensation on why Christians and the Church must not only be involved in the running of their nations, but must be in the vanguard of it.
In my country Nigeria, Christians are prone to complaining about why God is not giving the nation godly leaders. On the other hand, what a paradoxical and hypocritical question that is. Paradoxical and hypocritical, because on one hand this same church teaches her members to refrain from politics because it is a dirty game. But when Muslims and unbelievers take over the same government, we begin to complain of why there are no Christians or godly people in power.
If we are going to teach our people not to go into politics because it is dirty, then who is going to clean it up? Are there angels in charge of that kind of job? I am at times tempted to think, that the real reason behind the Church holding back her members from active involvement in the day to day running of a nation, is probably not because of care for the souls of the parishioners. The real reason might be the unwillingness of church leadership to let go of their most promising members.
As far as I’m concerned, the argument of politics and the secular world being dirty doesn’t hold water. Didn’t the Bible tell us that we are the light of the world? Is light not given to dissipate darkness? If the secular world is the darkness and the believer is the light, then in my mind, God has provided a solution to the problem of darkness. That solution is the church and the believers.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
If the church which is the light of the world, is reluctant to go and engage the darkness of the world, what are the other means we could then use to overcome that darkness? Will God send angels to do that? It won’t happen!
We sometimes live in hope, thinking God will raise people. He could even use stones to accomplish His will. Beautiful! But why should God be looking for stones when there are millions of Christians sitting down on the pews in church? There is no justification yet for God to raise up stones, when we have men in abundance who could be used by God to destroy the darkness in their nations. The only thing we need is to change their mindset and send them forth.
The church worldwide needs to reconsider her stand and her role in the transformation of nations.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16
From the above scripture, there are some lessons that we need to examine more closely.
1. YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD:
Jesus who is the author and the builder of the church specifically gives us our identity, purpose and vision, when he says YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. I don’t think by this Jesus is trying to impress us with a metaphor. I think He actually meant what He said. We are here to fix the problems of darkness of the world. Anywhere darkness is hidden, believers are supposed to go after it, chasing it away from all its hideouts. Bringing light and illumination to sons of men.
2. A CITY BUILT ON A HILL CANNOT BE HIDDEN:
If the church and the believers are truly who they profess to be, there is no way they could be hidden in any country or nation. They are supposed to be the most vocal, outspoken, visible, group of people in the whole nation.
The illustration Jesus uses here is perfect for the lesson He wanted to pass across. Jesus Himself is the hill upon which the church and the believers stand, hence He is so sure of His ability to manifest, to raise and to promote those who stand on Him. Therefore in every sphere of life, in any given society or nation, the church must be the most conspicuous body in the land.
Friends, let’s not dance around this. Jesus is not mincing words in declaring His intentions. His words are quite clear. Let’s take Him by His words. I don’t think He is playing dice with us. I believe He meant what He said. I don’t think God is a liar, neither could Jesus be a deceiver. If He says we are supposed to be on top, then let’s go for the top. If He says we are supposed to be visible then let’s go after the visibility. If He says we are the light then let’s go after the darkness without any ambiguity about it.
3. PEOPLE DON’T LIGHT A LAMP AND PUT IT UNDER A BUSHEL:
Jesus had earlier told us who the light is. The light is the church and the believers. He is trying to tell us that from his own part, He has done all He needed to do for us, He already lit the light and He did not put us under a bushel. To prove to us that He is not planning to do that and He is by no means going to do that, He said it is never done. He says anyone that lights a candle will never put it under a bushel, it is not done!
For Jesus to come to be the light in us, it’s not for us to be hidden any longer, it is not done! He Himself is the light of the word. Oh boy! How he lit the world! Now friends, that light has come into us with an intention, what other intention could it be? None other, than for us to be like Him. To beam our light to the whole nation where we are planted just like He did to the whole world. Just in case we might have some doubt, He gave us a stern instruction, don’t you even think about hiding, nobody does that. Nobody lights a light and hides it and God is not going to be the first one to begin to do that.
In Jesus’ own words “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.”
4. WHEN PEOPLE LIGHT A LAMP, THEY PUT IT ON A LAMP-STAND:
This is an intentional act of promulgation. I think the church worldwide has not been intentional enough in displaying her light, her advantages, her values, etc. We kind of misplaced the message of humility and used that message to sideline the purpose of the church. When the lamp is put on a lamp stand, it is for the benefit of others. It is for the purpose of service. It is for the purpose of defeating darkness.