"Poking Holes in the Darkness": Jesus on Community Outreach

I love the introduction to this week's Sabbath School lesson that quotes the child, Robert Louis Stevenson, telling his nanny that the lamplighter was "poking holes in the darkness." It reminds me of another description of poking holes in the darkness. That description says, "God is the source of life and light and joy to the universe. Like rays of light from the sun, like the streams of water bursting from a living spring, blessings flow out from Him to all His creatures."[1]

God is poking holes in the darkness for a reason: "Love to man is the earthward manifestation of the love of God. It was to implant this love, to make us children of one family, that the King of glory became one with us. And when His parting words are fulfilled, 'Love one another, as I have loved you' (John 15:12); when we love the world as He has loved it, then for us His mission is accomplished. We are fitted for heaven; for we have heaven in our hearts."[2]

In other words, "wherever the life of God is in the hearts of men, it will flow out to others in love and blessing."[3]

That, for me, is what community outreach should look like. God has certainly set the example of reaching out from the Kingdom of Heaven (His comfort zone) to those who can be blessed by what He has to share, and once we receive His Kingdom of Love in our hearts, we reach out to others who have not yet experienced it.

It appears to me that the very act of loving, of poking holes in the darkness, is the very means by which we are fitted more and more to live happily in the Kingdom from which the light and love come.

That was made clear to me when I took chapter nine ("The Work and the Life"), from Steps to Christ, and laid the concepts out in a chart (see below). What I found was that the description of God poking holes in our darkness, and reaching out to our fallen community of humanity was actually the model of what it would take for us to grow spiritually mature, ready for reaping (as in the tares and the wheat, not as in baptisms after a series of meetings). This exercise gave me a new understanding of just how important our involvement in community outreach is.

Our response to God's community outreach to us is to choose to be His hands and feet in community outreach to others, and that very behavior of being God's instruments for blessing the world is what helps to revive and reform us back into the image of His Son. In the chart below, notice the progressions that take place from section one to section two, and then from section three to section four. Read each section down, and then read each item horizontally, following the arrows. They are taken directly from the sentences in the chapter.

There is a wealth of spiritual insight in this little chapter, "The Work and the Life." I strongly recommend your read the whole thing for yourself. The flow of self-sacrificing love from heaven to earth, and through God's already-ransomed children to those who are still brainwashed by sin is the very message we are to be sharing with the world. "Satan was exulting that he had succeeded in debasing the image of God in humanity. Then Jesus came to restore in man the image of his Maker."[4]

The very work of transforming us back into His image is the work that reaches out to draw in the rest of His children for whom He died. "As Christ is the channel for the revelation of the Father, so we are to be the channel for the revelation of Christ. While our Saviour is the great source of illumination, forget not, O Christian, that He is revealed through humanity. God’s blessings are bestowed through human instrumentality. Christ Himself came to the world as the Son of man. Humanity, united to the divine nature, must touch humanity. The church of Christ, every individual disciple of the Master, is heaven’s appointed channel for the revelation of God to men.”[5]

[1] E. G. White, Steps to Christ (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1892), 77.

[2] E. G. White, The Desire of Ages, Vol. 3, (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1898), 641.

[3] E. G. White, Steps to Christ (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1892), 77.

[4] E. G. White, The Desire of Ages, Vol. 3, (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1898), 37–38.

[5] E. G. White, Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1896), 40.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/7574