How On Earth Do We Shine?
How on earth do we shine? Or maybe we should ask, “How do we shine on Earth?”
It sounds so esoteric. Can you see the image in your minds eye?
Something out of a science fiction movie where the main character is transformed into a glowing version of himself.
Kind of like ET.
Lately I have had several power outages. SCE has decided that anytime the wind blows, they need to turn off the power, which also turns off our water, since the well runs on electricity. The only thing that will run the well pump is a giant generator. Edison will pay for batteries to run the house, and solar energy, but none of those can run the well pump as it goes on and off all day. They don’t pay for generators. We’re working on this dilemma. I’m really tired of running on candle and flashlight power, so I’m also exploring their battery option for the house.
Just for now, let’s imagine a lantern. Like Diogenes, who looked for an honest man by carrying a lit lantern in the daylight, we walk through life carrying a Light that shines night and day. We are told not to hide it under a bushel basket or let the Enemy of our souls snuff it out.
We are to let it shine.
By opening our hearts to God and doing what He puts before us to do each day.
If God whispers in our ear that He wants us to call someone— I know you have had this happen— then you can bet that when you do, He will be shining His light on them through you. That’s why the virgins in the wedding parable were told to keep their lamps trimmed and full of oil— so they could be ready to respond to a whisper or a shout—
however the Word of the Lord comes.
What does “shining” look like?
I’ve been writing down some ideas. I’m sure you will think of some too.
You might respond, “Now, that’s something I could do!” Jot it down.
You might read an idea and have someone come to mind at the same time. Make a note.
Our Father doesn’t want us to just sprinkle His Light.
He wants us to take the cover off the lantern and really let it shine!
You and I are that Lantern, and the power that lights it is the Spirit of God. Paul tells the Romans (5:5) “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us”. He wants us to be spiritual Johnny Appleseeds, spreading Light and Love wherever we go. (The real Johnny Appleseed was a Christian, by the way. It’s a great story.)
Here are some random ways I thought of to let our Light Shine.
- Help someone to the car with their groceries.
- Pray for the person in front of you in line.
- Send hand-written notes of encouragement to people. Tell them you are praying for them.
- Help a child with school work— even if it’s on the phone or on Zoom.
- Knit or crochet hats for homeless people, cancer or Covid patients, or just someone who might be delighted by it. Teach others to knit or crochet to multiply the effort. Children can learn to do this also. Sharing your gifts with others stokes the fire and makes the Light brighter.
- Write the quick version of how Jesus has made a difference in your life and fold it into a Bible, a knitted hat, or a blanket as you give it away.
- Buy sweaters at the thrift store and hand them out.
- Call someone out of the blue just to say hi. It will bless them. Pray with them if they are open.
- Write to soldiers. Send them warm socks.
- Adopt the family of a soldier who is deployed and do something nice for them— gift certificates, toys, books.
- Tell someone you appreciate them, you are proud of them, you are praying for them.
- Smile at people. Tip a server generously. Pat someone on the shoulder (arm’s length with a mask is more touch than most people get these days).
- Pick someone you know or have observed and pray for that person every day for a month. Then pick another. Don’t tell them. Keep a record.
5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. I John 1:5-7 (emphasis mine)
Walking in the Light cleanses to our souls, and lights up those we touch.
That's Fellowship that goes way beyond coffee and cake in the courtyard.
So how do we make sure we are operating in the Light and not just in our own power? Pray first. Be open to course corrections along the way. Here are some prayers that are helpful to me. Change the wording to suit you— God will know what you mean.
In the morning as you roll out of bed say, “God, I open my heart to you today.”
Simple, but it wakes up our soul.
Repeat this anytime you notice that your heart has gone back to sleep, back on auto-pilot. Our hearts are the portal through which His Light shines,
so don’t be afraid to pray this prayer frequently.
He never gets tired of hearing it.
“Lord, help me to be blessing to those I meet today.”
Then I let Him tell me how, as I meet each person.
“Lord, I know you are always with me.
Remind me to be with You today.”
“Jesus, show me how to encourage those around me.
Let me be Your hands and feet and voice.”
All of these short prayers are effective because they are what God wants for us and for those we touch. Even if you get a negative reaction from someone, you can be confident that God’s Light was visible, if only for a minute. Maybe you have had the experience where you said something to someone, and years later they told you they remembered and it changed how they thought about God. You might not even remember you said it, but God used it.
And here’s a prayer for when you are ready to give God more of yourself.
Again, it’s simple but He will honor it.
“Jesus, shed Light into the dark corners of my life
so that I may surrender more of myself to You.”
Different people need different kinds of Light.
Some may need bright, glittery stage Light.
Some may respond better to soft candle Light.
God will tell you.
The important thing is to let Him SHINE.
Keep your lantern trimmed and filled with oil— or batteries.
This world needs all the Light it can get.