■ Susan Beckett / Contributed
For ages and ages, mankind has had a need for portable light. We carted around torches, oil lamps, and candles to light our way and navigate dark roads. Then something absolutely glorious happened — the extraordinary little flashlight was invented. We really don’t give them much thought, but who reading this doesn’t own at least one or two of these amazing little gadgets?
The flashlight was invented in 1898 and interestingly, the Bible verse “Let there be light” was on the cover of this new device. Unfortunately, with this early design the batteries couldn’t provide a constant current for very long, so the light literally flashed as the current connected and then disconnected. Thus it was coined the “flashlight.” You get the idea.
Not many would dispute the fact that light is a necessity for us humans, so it’s interesting that Jesus tells us He is the light of the world and anyone following Him won’t walk in darkness. But then He says something absolutely mind-blowing; He tells His followers, “You are the light of the world.” So what gives here? Jesus is the light of the world? We are the light of the world? Which is it?
In Colossians 1:27, Paul shines a light (pun totally intended) on this puzzling question when he writes this simple phrase: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Paul nailed it. The light is inside us and, as Christ-followers, we are supposed to be lighting up the dark world. As Martin Luther King wrote: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”
In Matt 5:14-15, Jesus makes it pretty clear: “You’re here to be light…God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I made 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…”
Interestingly, the amount of light put out from under a bucket is the same amount from a light on a pedestal – but an elevated position makes the light a whole lot more effective! When we are unafraid of sharing our lives with other people – when we keep “open house” – that light goes everywhere with us. The cashier at the grocery store sees it, our co-worker at work gets a gleam, and even family members catch rays of that light.
We’ve never been called to be “flashlights for God” – flashing on and off, then on again when it’s convenient. If Isaiah is right, that “darkness covers the earth, and deep darkness the people” then it seems that now might be a really good time for believers to shine; bringing life where there’s death, joy replacing sorrow, and exchanging truth for lies!
We need more individuals like those New Testament believers who constantly kept open house with their lives, spreading around their light. They were so effective at dispelling darkness that it wasn’t long before the city fathers soon complained: “These people who have turned the world upside down have come here too!”
These early followers understood this wasn’t just a struggle between light and dark, good and evil, or even life and death, but a struggle involving the eternal destination of souls. These gutsy New Testament light-bearers knew they had to be part of the counterculture – not a subculture – if they were going to change lives for eternity!
As one pastor likes to say, “We are indeed the light of the world – but only if our switch is turned on!”
Pastors Bob and Susan Beckett pastor The Dwelling Place City Church at 27100 Girard in Hemet. For more information, visit them at DPCiyCurch.com