"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp-stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in Heaven."
Matthew 5:14-16 NASB
Here's another way to put it:
"You're here to be light, bringing out the God colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light-stand - SHINE! Keep open house, be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in Heaven."
"The painful preacher, like candlelight, consumes himself in giving others light."
When there's a storm, and the power goes out, what do we usually reach for? What's the first thing that we stumble around in the dark for? A waffle iron? The T.V.?
Maybe, if you have one - a generator would be worth reaching for. But, most reach for a trusty old flashlight.
After finding the flashlights, we'll usually go to the cupboard and get out the candles, matches, and candlesticks.
Candles and flashlights, our first line of defense against any storm power-outage. Why is that?
It's because in the midst of the storms and darkness, we crave light! We need to see where we are going. We are uncomfortable in our vulnerability in the darkness. In darkness, we lose our sense of direction, lose our sense of balance. In all, we lose our bearings.
Ever notice when the lights go out, someone usually says, "Nobody move til I get a flashlight and some candles!"
And, when these things are procured, do you notice how you feel afterward? Things become more focused. You remember where you are, and where things are put. Order is restored, and we all sigh a collective, "That's better!"
We remind ourselves that we're okay and that nobody's gotten hurt and that we'll ride out the rest of the storm just fine. Some of us actually start to enjoy the glow of the candles and flashlight. With the warmth of the glow, we'll cuddle on couches and put sleeping bags down on the living room floor for the kids. We might even break out in song - perhaps, This Little Light of Mine.
Yes, we're enjoying ourselves - we have light. But, what about the drain on the batteries? And, what about the candles burning down, running out of wax and wicks?
A common element in children's literature is to give human thoughts and feelings to animals and inanimate objects - like candles and flashlights. Were we to employ "personification" here, we might wonder if Flashlight Fred worries about his batteries running down -
Or Carl Candle is fretting about how soon his wick burns to the bottom!
Truth is - candles and flashlights don't bother about such things. It's just not in their character. They are designed and called to one service - one purpose: To give light and SHINE!
They give no thought to rewards or accolades. They just shine their light in the darkness - showing the path on the way to where you are going - getting you there and back again safely.
They have purpose and take rest in that purpose. The Master of the house will see to it that they are properly disciplined and ready when needed with fresh batteries and trimmed wick. He puts them where they can be found, keeps them properly upgraded and maintained.
The same is true in our calling and purpose as Christians - to SHINE in the darkness and storms of the world around us. We're not to worry about running down, or fret that we might burn out. We trust our Master, Creator, Savior, to take care of us - making us disciplined and ready for use as He wills. All we have to do is SHINE - and enjoy the journey - to rest in the knowledge of our purpose, what we were created to be - to do - to SHINE HIS LIGHT.
After all, He is the One Who turned us on - and He will be the One to shut us off . . . or blow us out . . . in His time, and no other.
We are to take pleasure in showing people where they are and where they are going - and to help them get safely on the path there and back again. In so doing, we demonstrate the goodness and generosity of our Heavenly Father - our Generator.
How do you read? What do you think?
Sharing Candles & Flashlights this week with:
Laura's Faithful Friday at Beholding Glory
Charlotte's Spiritual Sundays