In the beginning God said, ‘Yes.’
Lest we forget, before creation “the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep” (Genesis 1:2). The world was marked by darkness and chaos—and God always challenges darkness and chaos.
So he overtook it. Transformed it. And he did so with light and creative splendor beyond our understanding. The unspeakable beauty of light, color, fragrance, taste, sound and order filled the new creation. Every part of creation, mountains and seas, insects, birds and mammals—and especially the crown of creation, woman and man—celebrated the radical grace of God’s gift of ‘Yes’.
And yet after receiving this gift, women and men despoiled the beauty of creation and ruptured their relationships with violence, injustice and greed. So God, once again, overcame the power of darkness and chaos, offering his great ‘Yes’ to humankind in the form of his son, Jesus. Darkness was rolled back, and chaos surrendered to order wherever Jesus went.
This Christmas, as with every Christmas, we celebrate this gift. That God has promised us he will always offer his ‘Yes,’ and that even amidst the darkness and chaos, God remains, steadfast and unchanging, ready to intercede for us.
God’s ‘Yes’ to humankind brings incredible peace, humility and encouragement. Yet, it also brings with it a great responsibility.
You see, it is precisely because we were created in the image of God that there is also a ‘Yes’ planted deep within our souls, waiting to find its expression. But finding our ‘Yes’ can feel daunting. The world is so broken that the weight of it often easily overwhelms our finite minds, suffocates our weary souls and steals our courage. But rest assured, God does not ask you to meet every need. Far from it, in fact. Jesus tells us “whatsoever you do for one of the least of these, you have done for me.” (Matthew 25:40). God in his love and sovereignty takes responsibility for the world. His invitation is for us to add our Yes to his, not to replace it.
Over the past few weeks, we have sought to help you discover your ‘Yes’ by listening for God’s voice (click here if you missed it). Our hope is that by taking this journey, you’ve found that it is in connection to God that your life finds power and purpose. We hope you’ve also discovered that God wants us to find our ‘Yes’ not as a way of getting something from us but as a way of giving something to us.
You see, ‘Yes’ opens the door to an entirely new way of life. Fear gives way to courage, self-love bows to a new Master, the tentacles of greed are severed and the vine of radical generosity flowers in our lives. We discover that darkness and chaos, the ever-present enemies of our world, can in fact be defeated—as we become not just bearers of the light, but the light itself. This is why Jesus declared to those who follow him, “You are the light of the world.”
At World Relief, we have been saying ‘Yes’ to the marginalized and forgotten of the world who for much of their lives have heard ‘No.’ It is our gift of ‘Yes’ back to God and outward to others. It is expressed in meeting critical needs for the homeless and hungry enduring natural disasters at home or around the world. It rises up to offer a warm welcome to the displaced and refugee fleeing persecution and war in the Middle East, Africa or, most recently, Myanmar. In partnership with local churches, we are seeing our ‘Yes ’bring transformation to entire communities. Whether in agriculture, savings programs, health and nutrition, trauma counseling or through battling the ravages of gender-based violence, we are seeing our ‘Yes’ impact the lives of millions of others.
The gift of ‘Yes’ is a life changing force. It moves powerfully from one heart to another. It gathers strength and dispels hopelessness and fear wherever it takes root. God, once again, confronts darkness and chaos with peace and love—and we are the grateful agents of his lavish grace.
Whether you feel called to add your ‘Yes’ to ours at World Relief or express it in some other fashion, we celebrate your journey towards the heart of God.
Scott Arbeiter’s proven marketplace skills, pastoral experience, passion for mission and history with World Relief uniquely equip him for his role as President of World Relief. Scott was a partner at Arthur Andersen serving in a variety of functions over his seventeen-year marketplace career. In 2001, Scott resigned from the partnership to serve at Elmbrook Church in Milwaukee, where he became Lead Pastor. Scott has also served on World Relief’s Board of Directors for nearly a decade, including three years as Chairman. After finishing his term on the board in 2015, Scott became a consultant and advisor to World Relief Leadership. Scott has been married to Jewel for thirty-three years and together they have raised three daughters, Kelsey, Jacquelyn and Karis—all of whom have grown to love and serve Christ in their own remarkable ways.