Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Steadily Burning Light

When my husband and I were dating, we often took advantage of the many free things to do in nearby Washington, D.C. One night he brought me to the Lincoln Memorial, which is impressive during the daylight hours but truly awesome by night. After seeing the statue and writings of Lincoln, we stood on the steps and admired the view of the Washington Monument and Capitol Building reflected in the long rectangular pool below. Steve then took me around the back of the monument and pointed out the dark hillside which was Arlington National Cemetery, located just past the Memorial Bridge. We could see a light flickering on the hill in the distance very clearly. I asked Steve what it was, and he told me it was the eternal flame at President Kennedy's graveside.

The next day we walked through that cemetery and came to the site of the eternal flame. To my surprise, the light we had seen from a mile or so away was just a small gas flame about eight inches high. That small light could be seen from a great distance when it was surrounded by darkness.

We live around people who are living in darkness. God has called us to be light. "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven," Jesus told His disciples. I'm sometimes tempted to believe that the opportunity to shine comes only in the infrequent great moments, like when I have a chance to share the gospel with someone or speak before a large crowd of women. Yet a light that flares only briefly in the darkness then flickers out quickly is much less useful than the kind of light that burns with a steady glow.

We are to be light in every moment of our lives. Paul wrote the Colossians: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men...It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Our testimony's effectiveness to the world around us is determined by each small decision we make, each word we speak, and each attitude we hold.

We can have a huge impact on neighbors and friends by simply being faithful in what God has given us to do, and by being content in where God has us. People will quickly spot peace in our attitudes and joy in our hearts. For those living with an unquenchable thirst, our lives will look like a cool refreshing glass of water. They will begin to think: I want to be content in my life. Why are they different? I want what they have. Our very lifestyle will make them thirsty for the Living Water we can offer them.

J. Gregory Mantle, a preacher who lived in the late 1800's in England and America, once wrote: "It is far harder to live for Christ moment by moment than it is to die once for Him; and if we wait for great occasions in which to display our fidelity, we shall find that our life has slipped away, and with it the opportunities that each hour has brought of proving our love to the Lord, by being faithful in that which is least."

We don't have to be Billy Graham to be used to inspire others to seek God. Just by being faithful to what God has called us to do, whether it is driving a truck, teaching school, or mothering small children, God can use our determination to serve to glorify him. And you can be sure our faithful obedience to him will be seen and noticed by others still living in darkness.

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4 comments:

Oh Dear said...

so true! Thank you for that reminder.

Zoe said...

Julie,
Thanks for your great comments on my blog. I LOVE the pinata word picture and it's breaking open to spill out our treasure.
You are always filled with great words of wisdom.

Anonymous said...

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