For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good….for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. (Romans 13:4,6)
Let’s face it: The brand of Christianity isn’t so hot right now. By and large, non-Christians perceive us to be judgmental and unloving, increasingly retreating into subcultural enclaves to sit on Facebook to rage about “the culture” rather than engage it.
Here’s something you can do today to help solve this problem: Celebrate the good in a non-Christian’s work. More than that, tell them that you see God working through them to do good in the world.
That’s what we’ve seen throughout this series on common grace! God gives good gifts of provision and vocational skill to “the righteous and the unrighteous” (see Matthew 5:45). And he works in this world through believers and non-believers alike as we see in Romans 13:1-6.
And so, while we will not agree with everything non-Christians do in their work, we are free to call out what they do for the common good via God’s common grace as nothing less than God’s work in the world. And that can have a profound impact on the lost, as my friend Mike Kelsey has learned.
As Mike shared on the Mere Christians podcast, he was having lunch with a non-Christian friend of his who is a talented poet. Mike told his friend, “Hey, man. I know you don't even know what you believe, but you're doing God's work. God is using you in the ways that you craft words and write poetry and write books…you're blessing people through your gifts.”
When I asked Mike how his friend reacted, he said, “He was stunned that I would say that.” Because this guy assumed that he was simply “a salvation project” for Mike. But by taking the time to see his friend and call out the God-given goodness in his work, Mike gave his friend a new and far more winsome picture of what it means to be a Christian.
Throughout this series we’ve been looking at responses to common grace that lead to uncommon work. Here are all five:
Regarding that fifth response, let me encourage you to do what Mike Kelsey did today. Find a non-Christian who God is clearly using to deliver his good gifts to the world. Encourage them to that end. And watch what God can do with your response to his common grace!