Let Your Light Shine

“No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has more will be given and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.” ~ Luke 8:16-18

by Jennifer Skinner on March 19, 2024

Many of Jesus’s parables leave me stumped. A bunch of tenants beat up some guys in a vineyard? All those seeds falling in the wrong places? And what does Jesus have against fig trees? 

In contrast, the parable about the lamp under a jar seems pretty clear. Those who have gained insight into the will of God ought to reveal it. Those who have experienced the love and hope of Jesus, should share. We are called to make disciples of all nations, so we should share how following Jesus has brought blessings, favor, and beauty to our lives.

When life is lining up just as I please and I think about the goodness of God, the image is a blinding force of light. The brilliant shine of the sun on a cloudless day. The dazzling sparkle of fireworks in the night sky. 

When I prayed really hard for my kid to do well in an interview and he lands the job? When the medical test came back clear? When I hit all the green traffic lights? Spreading the Good News, on the days when my life is full of good news? That’s when it’s easy to hold the lamp high.

But what about when the light isn’t quite as bright? What about the times I have to search very hard for a tiny shred of light filtering through a crack in a weathered door? Or a barely flickering flame in a dark room? When the cancer treatment didn’t work. When evil finds its way into a school leaving children dead. When I’m personally arguing with God. Sometimes, as a follower of Jesus, I hesitate to share my belief in a good God when the world fights back with proof of unrelenting darkness.

It is in these circumstances that it’s even more important to pull that lamp out from under the basket. When believers are open about our struggles, our doubts and our questions, we invite others to search for light with us. I often remind myself that Jesus never once told me that life would be easy. He gave it to me straight: “In this world, you will have trouble” (John 16:33)

Vulnerability, honesty, and humility about our struggles is perhaps more inviting than forced positivity that ignores the real evil and pain present here. I find myself drawn to people who acknowledge that life is difficult and uncertain, while at the same time pointing my broken heart to a God who remains faithful. We are called to share the light of Jesus – whether it is the blinding gleam of the sun or the tiny glimmer of a single candle’s flame. Both should be made known.

Lord, give us courage to share the light of your love during times of joy and peace as well as in times of suffering and pain. In all circumstances, let us be bearers of Your light - the one lamp that will never be extinguished. Amen.

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