I was talking to a friend last night in another state (I mean physically. Not the state of sanity in relation to mine of confusion) and he was talking about apologetics. He was echoing some of the sentiments I’ve echoed in feeling like he’s often alone in the apologetics endeavor and then going into an Elijah moment. (For this friend, I would also like to say that you rock. I’m glad I know you and you’re an awesome guy and hopefully we’ll see each other again soon.)
Many of us can relate to that. I can often go into my church service and see the people and think “I’ve been taking the intellectual bullets for you all week. Have you noticed?” I’m not saying I do it for a reward or the praise of men. I really don’t. It’s simply the right thing to do and I remind myself of that many nights when I’m up late talking to someone in need. I just simply look and wonder if I am all alone at times. Apologetics, sadly, can be a thankless job. To be blunt, it seems any position in ministry can be a thankless job.
I asked my friend to consider his job and mine. Many people come to see us every day and few of them would know that we are apologists. In some ways, it is like living with a secret identity. I find that kind of cool in some ways, but kind of saddening in others. The point though is that it can seem like we are just tiny specks.
However, I also consider that while those people that approach me don’t know much about me, I in turn don’t know much about them. Maybe there are some that I worked around today who are apologists as well. Maybe my friend had someone come to him who was a minister and he knew nothing about it.
I then told my friend to turn to Philippians 2. This is one area where I think we who take Scripture seriously can make a mistake. There is that great passage there that talks about the deity of Christ and we can get so caught up in that part of the chapter that we forget that there are other parts to that chapter. We can do this with many other places in the Bible. Have we ever, for instance, considered Romans 9 without thinking first of the Calvinism-Arminianism debate?
Philippians 2 though speaks of us as stars shining in the universe. I asked my friend to consider how big the sky was and he said it was quite big. We could consider it practically infinite. I asked him then if we could compare the Earth and the sky. The Earth isn’t infinite of course, though neither is the sky, but from our perspective, both can seem such. The Earth has so much for us to explore.
Philippians 2 tells us though that we are like stars in the universe shining. I like that metaphor. I look at the sky at night and it’s so black, but then there’s that glimmer of light. It’s a star that can’t be quenched by the darkness. Those stars are light years apart, but they sure seem close from our perspective.
I ask my friend then and I ask you as well to look at our world here. It might seem like we’re alone, and at times I do feel like I am, but we are not. There is the company of our friends who are fighting the same battle. I’ve said before that not all of us are apologists. I’m thankful for my counselor types who are just standing alongside me cleaning up any wounds I receive. Remember that in King David’s court, there was an official position identified as the friend of the king. Our friends should receive no less honor.
My friends, if you are fighting this fight, fear not. You are not alone. Go out and shine. Light up the world for Jesus Christ.