Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, who is in Heaven.
- Matthew 5:16
Thankfully, our part of the country escaped the recent tornado-driven devastation that tore through the Midwest. But most of us can recall a time or two when we at least lost power or a few trees, and feared wed suffer far worse before the storm passed by.
For me, one of those unromantic, candlelight memories occurred four or five years ago during the unwelcome visit of Hurricane Earl.
I had no problem finding enough candles to dimly light my home or even read, but remembering where I put the high-powered flashlight, or a 9-volt battery so I could run my dual-powered clock-radio, was another matter. Most of the inventions of the past 50 years, which I suddenly realized I owned, vanished the moment the power went off.
My brush with the Earline darkness, however began earlier in the day. En route to the Y on that dark, rainy morning, my lighted vehicle and I pulled out of a side street directly into the path of the only car on that heavily-traveled right-of-way without its lights on. Guardian angels and a couple seconds head start prevented some personal devastation, but I was shaken - and angry that the other driver had violated one of the primary rules of the road: when its raining, turn on your lights.
These two incidents on one traumatic day got me to thinking about the difference between the importance of light, and its convenience. Reading by candlelight brought back childhood memories of a home without electricity, but not without books or enough light to read them by.
Pleasant thoughts. Hardships we didnt know we had. Though I might not choose to re-live those days, it took a temporary power outage for me to realize how few of my temporarily missing conveniences were matters of life and death.
When Jesus told His disciples, You are the light of the world, and instructed them to let that light shine before men (Mat-thew 5: 14, 16), He didnt mean for them to wear a miners head lamp all day, or leave their house lights on all night. As usual, when teaching spiritual truths, Jesus used a concrete example to explain an abstract idea.
The light He was talking about was an illumined way of life, which He wanted His followers to turn on and keep on so others would see that light and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
He, the supreme Light of the world, would be the source of that light, much like a lighted match touched to the tip of a candle renders one small light sufficient to illumine a whole room.
When her grandfather asked what she wanted for her birthday, a young girl said she wanted a world globe. The loving man bought the best globe he could find and afford, and brought it to his granddaughters home on her special day.
But, Grandpa, the child complained when she opened her gift, I wanted a globe with a light in it. Why did you get me one without a light?
Because, the slightly impoverished man explained, a lighted globe costs more.
Some lights, like those on our cars, are inexpensive to buy and easy to turn on. Those designed to adorn, or that lose their power in a storm, may require additional labor and cost.
But the light Jesus asks His followers to let shine is the costliest of all. Becoming extensions of the Light of the World requires a changed life, and constant vigilance to keep the flame from going out. But the benefits of the latter light are eternal.
Brightly beams our Fathers mercy from his lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping of the lights along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning; send the beam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman, you may rescue, you may save (Philip Bliss.)
(Barbara Seaborn is a local free-lance writer. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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