Shine A Light

Shine a light

There is a phrase forever entrenched in my memory, “Shine the light where I’m working, not in my eyes.” It is almost a rite of passage for a young boy working with his dad. Whether we were in the engine compartment of a car, under a sink, or just fixing something in the dark, this phrase was repeated for every project we worked on together from when I was 4-12 years old. Now that I’m a dad, I feel almost compelled to say it, partly for instruction and partly because it’s good advice that shapes us. I know why it happens. For starters, young people have short attention spans and forget that they are even holding a flashlight. Secondly, it’s dark, so the adult needs only to see where they are working; everything else is irrelevant at that moment. Finally, the adult speaks, and the child wants to see their parent’s face, read their expression, and see the totality of what the father wants to convey. All of this climaxes with the phrase, “Shine the light where I’m working, not in my eyes.” 

This week, in our lesson, we looked at what the lampstand means in the Revelation given to John. We discovered John equates churches to being lampstands. Three passages immediately pop into my memory; two from the Sunday morning lesson and a third from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. 

Exodus 25:37 

 “Then make its seven lamps and set them up on it so that they light the space in front of it.”

Revelation 2:2 

 “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.”

Matthew 5:15-16 

 “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. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Being a part of God’s Church, His community of believers, is lived out in actions of hard work and perseverance. When we do these things, it is the equivalent of shining a light where God is working. This is a two-fold process; shining and working combines their efforts in one deliberate action. We become co-workers with God in His endeavors by “work-shining.” This is our responsibility when we are a lampstand. It might be easier to protect the light and put it under a bowl; however, that negates the purpose and function of light. In other words, it doesn’t shine the light where the Father is working. 

Our purpose as lampstands is not to shine the light for God to see; that is seeking glorification for ourselves; remember God sees what we do regardless, “Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:4). Instead, we want to shine a light for God’s work to be done. To be an example to the world of the goodness and glory of God. Shining a light requires us to be attentive to the Father’s plan; if I know what He is doing, I can shine the light more purposefully; I don’t have to second-guess His designs; this frees me to participate in the Divine reality. 

When we act in this manner, the world will recognize this light and be drawn into it, and they will see this goodness and give glory back to God. So then, the only thing left for us to do is “Shine the light where the Father is working.”


2 Responses to “Shine A Light”

  1. Dana says:

    Exactly! It feels even more so needed today, but in all reality it’s always been needed. Workers who shine as they react to the world working as His hands, His feet, His heart.

  2. Paula Coch says:

    This is such a great reminder that we are to shine our light. And it is so needed more now than ever. Thank you for this Tom.

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