Some people go all out when decorating for Christmas. Twinkling lights outline their houses and garages, regal sparkles adorn the shrubbery—even their driveways illuminate the night like miniature runways. What a cheerful gift to share! Those shining lights proclaim to visitors, “We love Christmas!” As I hum one of my favorite songs, This Little Light of Mine, I see a parallel for believers. Jesus left an important assignment for us in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world…” Matthew 5:16 amplifies the task, “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Is my light shining? Can others see it? Or do I only light up on special occasions? We use many kinds of lights, some so common we pay them little heed until they wink out. Let’s see what they might teach about our mandate to be the light of the world.
Porch Lights – My childhood home stood well beyond the reach of any street light. Navigating safely to the door was a cinch when Mom left the light on, and Mom rarely forgot. As I crossed the rickety bridge and turned up the dirt road the porch light’s cheerful glow was my beacon. Porch light Christians are vital in kingdom work. They convey a much-needed message to our lonely world, “Welcome! We’re glad you’re here! Come in.”
Refrigerator Lights – Most of us never notice hard working refrigerator lights. A hungry person needs the faithful light’s help to find the good stuff in the fridge. “Look. Over there behind the mustard is a tasty stalk of cauliflower. Hiding under that bowl is an unclaimed slice of pie. Choose wisely and enjoy!” Fridge lights live to share. Their hearts beat to connect seeking people with nourishment. Refrigerator lights, confident of the benefits of being part of God’s family, jump at any chance to encourage another, “There’s something awesome here. Well-worth your time. Let me show you.”
Directional Signals – Undecided drivers represent a traffic hazard. Blinkers, standard equipment on all vehicles, allow the driver to communicate his intentions to others. The flashing light declares, “Pay attention. I have information to share. This is my chosen direction.” The change initiated when I embraced Jesus at the moment of my salvation should be obvious to any observer. Can folks tell the direction I’m traveling? Are my deeds pointing others to God?
Reading Lights – As my years have increased so has my appreciation for reading lights. I can open a book to learn new things, but if my eyes cannot focus on the words the content passes me by. Reading light Christians open God’s Word to children and illuminate the message so young minds can connect. Reading lights pop up in small groups to discuss the Scripture and the sermon with others. The reading light stands ready to help a friend open the Word and explore answers to spiritual questions.
Headlights – My father’s driving instructions included this warning, “Never outrun your headlights.” Low beams help the driver steer safely in the immediate stretch of road. Lane markers, potential hazards, and street signs come to life under that illumination. High beams reach out to sections of the road yet in the future offering the driver a few seconds to make needed course corrections. A dynamic organization requires Low Beams who understand the short term objectives and keep the group on track. High Beams plan for the future by setting long-term direction. Without these two vital functions we’re just cruising. How many of our church leaders can you name, and which ones will you pray for this week?
Jesus shared in John 9:5, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” He returned to His Father and passed the baton to us. Being the light of the world means repelling the darkness in my circle of influence.
Before the Christmas lights are packed away for the year, take a drive. Enjoy the beauty. Let those twinkles beam a question straight to your heart, “Am I doing my part as the light of the world?”