When George H.W. Bush was president he pushed the concept of a thousand points of light and recognized people around the nation who were doing good things that helped others. The truth is we need far more than a thousand points of light. Every city, community, family and church needs at least one person that can be a point of light for them as a group. Into every group of people, no matter how large or small, religious or not, rich or poor, young or old or whatever mix of cultures one might have, there will be days and months when darkness invades the group and the need for a point of light will be clear to everyone. Darkness comes in a multitude of ways and for a vast array of reasons. Think about your family, especially the reaches of your family through multiple generations. How has darkness invaded your family in the last year or so? Has there been a death in the family? What about a major illness? Is there someone struggling with mental or emotional issues that darken the family? Has addiction issues hit the family? What about marriage break ups or sexual orientation differences? Sometimes the dark night of the soul comes because of a spiritual crisis in the family? It may be that one family member is doubting their faith or has determined that their beliefs on particular issues have changed. Whatever the reason, when darkness invades the family, it tends the drain joy, love, meaning and even the closeness of the family from it.
None of us can be the light to shine in every need and hurt in the city, country or even the local church. But, I can be a light to shine for whatever group I am a part of. By far the best known teaching on this whole topic is Jesus speaking to the people in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:14-16. He said, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Jesus described himself as the light of the world and declared that he had come into the world as the light but people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. John in I John 1:5 said that “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” The Psalmist tells us that the word of God is a lamp to our feet and a light to our pathway. All of those help us to see that being a light for our world isn’t something that solely depends on us. God and Christ are the light that shines like the sun. They are the light source. We operate as light like the moon in that we are the reflected light of the sun. We aren’t capable of producing the light. But we can spend time with God and Christ and absorb the light that comes from Him to share with others.
Notice, Jesus challenge to us is to “Let your light so shine that people may see your good works and glorify the Father.” There is a huge difference between “Letting our light shine” and “Shining our light.” It is the difference between a strong flash light being shined into our eyes and the glow of a candle sitting in the middle of a dark room. When I try to shine my light on others it tends to irritate and turn people away. But when I let my light shine it draws people to the source of the light which is the Lord. Jesus explained that the way we accomplish that goal is by good works we are doing.
In Philippians 2:14-16 Paul offered some other points on how we let our lights shine. “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.” If I want to be a point of light for my family, friends, church group, work place or community it is vital that I just stop the grumbling and arguing. Why? Because grumbling and arguing are part of the darkness that already invades the group. If I start down that road I can’t possibly bring light to others since I am in the dark myself. You stop those things so that you may become, blameless and pure. This isn’t becoming sinless since we all sin. It is the refusal to live in sin and the determination to make things right when I have done wrong. One who is pure has unmixed devotion to the Lord. As children of God our sins have been cleansed, washed away and forgiven. We are innocent because of God’s cleansing us. When we live without the grumbling and arguing and become blameless and pure we stand apart from the dark world that is warped and crooked. It is then that we become a point of light for the group. You can’t light a candle and go light your world while living with the same actions and attitude as the dark world we are trying to offer light.
I can’t light the world. But I can be a light for the family, or group that I am in. If we all do that, it will provide the needed light for our world.