Jesus tells us that we are the light of the world and we are to shine His light for all to see; “do not hide it under a bushel”, he warns (Matthew 5:16). Hearing these words always reminds me of the author Robert Louis Stevenson who is best known for works such as Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I once read a story from his childhood that illustrates what it means to be Christ’s light in the world.
As a child Robert Louis Stevenson was in very poor health. One night, when he was quite sick, his nurse found him with his nose pressed against the frosty pane of his bedroom window. “Child, come away from there. You’ll catch your death of cold,” but young Robert would not budge. He was mesmerized as he watched an old lamplighter slowly work his way through the black night lighting each street lamp along his route. “See, look there,” Robert pointed, “There’s a man poking a hole in the darkness.”
That is what we are called to do, poke holes in the darkness. To be Christ’s light means we go into dark places and share God’s love, forgiveness and acceptance. These dark places may be grief, poverty, illness, injustices and loneliness.
It takes courage and faith to be Christ’s light in a darkened world. So often the world rewards the “winner” at the risk of many “losers”. What would TV be like today if we took out the competition to be the best and instead just celebrated everyone’s unique talents? What if everyone received second place and praising God came in first place? Then we would see the light everywhere!
We need not do grand acts that bring us a lot of attention and accolades, as Neal A. Maxwell writes, “Small lights have a way of being seen in a dark world.” Simple acts as taking time to listen to each other, building each other up and speaking words of love produce a powerful light.
Dwight L. Moody put it best when he preached, “We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to the shining—they just shine.”
Go and be a lighthouse,
Rev. Heather McCarrel
Photo by Evgeni Tcherkasski/Unsplash