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“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)
As Jesus nears the end of his earthly ministry, He clarifies to his disciples who they are and who we are as well as what our purpose is to be.
This teaching reminds underscores the need for light to be ever emanating from our lives. That light is Jesus shining within and through us.
We never know when someone lost in darkness may be hoping to glimpse even the smallest light to give direction and hope. We may never see them, but it does not mean they are not there whether or not they acknowledge that or speak to us about it or not.
Near the end of his earthly ministry Jesus told his disciples a parable about how vital it is to keep the light (the oil) in our lamp from running out, from going dark. The parable in Matthew 25 speaks of wise virgins whose lamps are filled and lit, but also warns of foolish virgins whose lamps have gone dark.
Tending the light within us is not a casual admonition.
Reading in Lisa Wingate’s marvelous book, The Prayer Box, set in the Outer Banks of North Carolina brought back memories of lighthouses we visited.
The description Lisa Wingate pens in The Prayer Box reminds me of important truth:
“What does a lighthouse do? I ask myself. It never moves. It cannot hike up its rocky skirt and dash into the ocean to rescue a foundering ship. It cannot calm the waters or clear the shoals. It can only cast light into the darkness. It can only point the way. Yet, through one lighthouse, you guide many ships.”
The lighthouse isn’t rushing about from one place to another. It stands consistently where its designer places it and its light points the way. Those at sea are the ones that must move to avoid disaster and destruction.
To be a lighthouse is to keep the light burning even if we do not see beyond the place we stand. To be a lighthouse is to know the singular call to provide light when darkness, dense fog, and storms would seek to shroud the light. To be a lighthouse is to draw attention to the light within it rather than the lighthouse.
How simply these truths remind us of what it means to be called by Jesus to be light, but how clearly they also underscore the need for light to be ever emanating from our lives. We never know when someone lost in darkness may be hoping to glimpse even the smallest light to give direction and hope.
Lord, help me to keep the call of a lighthouse to remind me of my call to have your light emanating from within me.
Let me never be too busy, too tired, too foolish not to keep that light burning brightly not only for how it sustains me, but how it reflects YOU and gives hope and direction for any who glimpse it.