It was supposed to be a quick run to the store to pick up a light bulb that had burned out in the clothes dryer, but instead it became a learning, and you might say somewhat of a spiritual experience. As I made my way to the aisle of light bulbs, I soon found myself engulfed in a sea of diverse types, styles, wattage, and brands that left me feeling like I was reading one of those “Where is Waldo” books to my kids again as I searched for the replacement bulb.
There was an entire aisle dedicated to nothing but light bulbs. There were incandescent bulbs, twisted fluorescent, flame shaped, halogen, corn shaped, globe LED, reflector, spot, flood, tube, and mercury bulbs. There were bulbs for the refrigerator, stove ovens, bathroom vanities, nights lights, kitchen recessed lighting, and yes finally clothes dryer bulbs. After finding what I needed and making my way out of the aisle, my eye caught a chart that described all the types of bulbs you could buy. As I counted them up, there were over 56 different types of bulbs with an assortment of bases and wattages. Only in America would we have such a variety. Yet, that is when the so-called light came on for me as I thought, it does not matter how many varieties there might be, each of them has the same purpose and that is to shed light.
In Matthew’s gospel account of Jesus’ sermon on the mount, Jesus says, “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to God.” (Matthew 4:14-16) It appears to be rather simple in that our purpose as disciples of Jesus Christ is to shed light that illumines both the message and ministry of our Lord.
As the pandemic rages on with a record number of infections and deaths, with a nation where we have witnessed the horrific violence on the U.S. Capitol, where families line up for hours sitting in a car hoping that they can get a box of food or people around us suffer silently from abuse, addictions, loneliness, or despair, there is a desperate need for light in the midst of all the darkness.
True, not all of us have the answers, talents, abilities, or resources to address all that we are facing, but that has never been an excuse for the church to let the beacon of light grow dim. Remember how Jesus challenged his disciples to give the multitudes something to eat and used what was brought to him to feed the thousands with leftovers? So, in these dark times, what kind of a light is Jesus asking you to be for your family, your church, your community, even the one you find hard to love or agree with in these days? Maybe you are to be a nightlight for a frightened soul, a flood light that brings hope and relief for those in need, or a spotlight that shows the way, the truth, and life in walking with the one we say is the Light of the World. Whatever it might be, I urge you to discover what I discovered standing in an aisle filled with light bulbs; and that is we were not created to stay in a box, but to be plugged into Christ and let our light shine that God may be glorified and seen. So, where will you shine today?