Wednesday, December 30, 2009

This little light of mine.....

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine......That was one of my favorite verses to sing with the kids in Children's Church. I always loved seeing them get to the part when they said, "Hide it under a bushel -NO! I'm gonna let it shine." They sang that part with such fervor you could hear them all the way down the halls.

The Bible refers to light in Matthew 5:14 - 16, “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven." This comes right after the metaphor that we are to be 'salt', (see yesterday's post.) But what does it mean to be light?

This one is a fairly simple idea, after all we did make a children's song out of it. We are to shine our light so that all men may know the Good News, but how we go about doing that, well - that's a bit more difficult.
I, for one, love light. I open up all the windows, turn on every light in the house, and paint the walls in such a way that the entire room reflects the light! The more the better! I am loud in everything I do and I like the world around me to be bright and shining! I am, however, painfully aware that this light, like my personality, can be at times irritating.

Take my husband for instance. This is a good man, a quiet man, a godly man....but he doesn't see light the same way I do. He wears sunglasses to protect against the glare. He turns off the overhead lights because they give him a headache. He wears a baseball cap almost all the time to help shade his eyes. He closes the curtains to keep the light inside the room subtle and soft.

Light can either draw you toward it or make you shy away. I love waking to the gentle light of morning streaming through my window...however, having someone flip on the light switch suddenly makes me pull the covers over my head. I am drawn toward the warmth of a glowing candle, but I turn my gaze from a bright spotlight. The bright beacon of a lighthouse would be a welcome sight in a storm, and yet the gentle nightlight that helps me make my way down the hallway at night can be just as welcome. (Hey, nobody likes stumping their toe in the dark!) Different light is needed at different times.

The thing is, the light has to get out into the dark places to really become effective. While we gather together to "trim our wicks and replenish our oil", the church building isn't the most effective place to let our light shine. After all, we don't really need another candle in a room full of light....we need it in the dark places. We are needed in the world.

In the book, Tale of Despereaux, Boticelli tells Roscuro, "do not go up into the light. You will regret it." According to the passage, rats are not supposed to like light, yet Roscuro is drawn to light as a result of Gregory lighting a match in his eyes. Once having seen this light, he cannot shake it's pull on him. The could be no place darker than the dugeon where Roscuro lived, yet one small glimpse of light forever effected him to want more.

Light can change our views on so many things. For example, sometimes our problems don't seem as overwhelming in the light of day. In the dark hours of the night, the burdens can seem almost too much to bear, but once the sun comes up, hope comes with it. Many today have lived in darkness for so very long that they have lost all hope. They need light, but no artificial light will give them must come with the Son. Someone must be willing to share the light that they have found.

What does all this mean for me? Well, in a nutshell, it means I need to take the light I have been given out into the world. It means I have to be mindful of those whom I am with...not everyone is ready for me to throw back the curtains and turn on all the lights - they need a little light at the time. It means that even if I feel like I can only be a small nightlight to keep someone from tripping, that alone can be a good thing. It means that I can trust God with the results. Once a little light is seen, it forever draws the recipent to want more.

But hide it under a bushel - no....I can't do that. No matter what, I'm gonna let it shine.

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