In a certain mountain village in Europe several centuries ago, a nobleman wondered what legacy he should leave to his townspeople. At last, he decided to build them a church. No one saw the complete plans for the church until it was finished. When the people gathered, they marveled at its beauty and completeness. Then someone asked, “But where are the lamps? How will it be lighted?” The nobleman pointed to some brackets in the walls. Then he gave to each family a lamp which they were to bring with them each time they came to worship. “Each time you are here, the area where you are seated will be lighted,” the nobleman said. “Each time you are not here, that area will be dark. This is to remind you that whenever you fail to come to church, some part of God’s house will be dark.” (Church Bulletin Bits. From a sermon by Nathan Johnson, “A Day Set Aside”)
I love this illustration because it paints a picture of the importance of each person to the whole. Where one lamp is missing, there is darkness, an emptiness that no one else can fill.
Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, 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 your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). A lamp hidden cannot shine its light. A light withheld cannot reflect the splendor of Christ. When a person holds back their faith in action, the glory of the Father is but a mystery.
That light that God illuminates is vital for all people for many reasons because it guides us, it protects us, and it keeps us from stumbling. From Proverbs 6:20-23, “My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life.”
God’s light is given to show the way to salvation and His commandments help us to stay on the narrow path that leads us there. Without the lamp of God, one cannot see where to go, so God has illuminated His law for direction and His Word as His guidebook. However, if we fail to light our lamp from His so that others may see, the way remains darkened and the path elusive.
God’s Word needs to be shared to lighten the way for others. Psalm 119:105 gives us the well-known refrain, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Both God’s Word and the law written within it, provide radiance to the darkness and confusion of the world.
God’s Word brightens the promises he has made to redeem His people. It ignites a spark of faith that can become a raging inferno of devotion. It glows with the anticipation of things to come, and it provides daylight when the darkness of the world draws near.
Our calling then, as believers in Christ, is to always keep our lamps lit for all to see. The world desperately needs to see the light of Christ reflected in us. That requires us to constantly relight our own lamp from the wick of God’s own lamp. Our light can only be shone if the Holy Spirit is our igniter. He provides the fuel that will keep our wicks burning bright.
Does your light need to be rekindled? Have you allowed your light to dim to the point that people can barely see it? Is your lamp hidden so that its light cannot even be seen? Let God’s law keep you on the right path and trust in His Word to guide you all the way to heaven. Trust in His light to keep you safe and at peace even in your greatest trials. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, inspire us to keep our lamps lit and our wicks trimmed so that the light you give can be seen in everything we say and do. Forgive us for too often hiding Your light in times of darkness and help us to be bold in the sharing of our faith so that others might see the path you provide to everlasting glory. Amen.