This Little Light of Mine

I found this in my archives today and thought it was worth sharing:

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Today is all about gratitude – I’m loving my house, loving my husband, loving my life and just grateful to be alive.

I’m 23 days away from being 70 years old. It seems like a big deal to me. I don’t feel near death—always remembering that my mother lived to be 95—and I don’t look forward to being older. Maybe that’s the quandary I’m in. I’m happy with my life. I don’t mind being 70, exactly; it’s just that I’ve never been this unsure of what my future might hold.

In some ways I’m restless. I want to do SOMETHING. I want to write something wonderful, and feel singularly uninspired to do so. I want to write something wonderful about Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world.” What an amazing concept! For today I’ll just ruminate about “light.”

Heavenly light is one thing, but earthly light has great charms for me, too. Sunshine on my face makes me happy. Being inside my house and looking out of the four directions in my house, and seeing sunshine—light—makes my heart joyful.

One of my first revelations about light, about sunshine, came to me when I was a little girl, living on the farm. I discovered that if you turned over a board that had been on the ground for quite a while, the underside would be damp and crawling with worms and bugs. Sunshine dried it out and the bugs died in the sunshine. Light kills certain kinds of unwholesome insects.

Washday at my home on the farm was miserable in the South Dakota winter, but ah, in summer! Drying the sheets on the line, sunshine purified and perfumed them. Is there a finer experience of going to bed than that of laying your head on a fresh-air dried pillowcase, the sunshine still warm in it? Spreading cleaning rags to dry on the grass on a hot summer day miraculously bleached out stains—even blood. Sunlight heals and sunlight removes stains.

Whether we hatched chicks from fertilized eggs, or retrieved our order of baby chicks at the local post office, they were kept warm and grew under heat lamps—lights.

Too much bilirubin in a baby’s blood leads to unhealthy jaundice. When the baby is put under the “bili-light” the light causes the bilirubin to change into a substance that the newborn can process and eliminate.

If we are the light of the world, it stands to reason that we might not be sent to where there already is a lot of light, but to a dark place that needs light. Like prison. The first time I went into prison the theme of the weekend was from Isaiah, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.”

Light isn’t always appreciated. Those who do deeds of darkness do not wish to be exposed.

When we BE the “light of the world” we are being what Jesus is. Somehow being light is partaking in the nature of God. It’s an honor to be commanded to be the light of the world. When Jesus does that, he is inviting us to be what he is.

The light is imputed light, though, isn’t it? The light that we’re born with is like a candle or a flashlight. That light can burn down or burn off.

All metaphors fail at some point, of course, but the one I like best about being the light of the world is the lamp. It can be a great lamp, even a beautiful lamp, and the bulb can be first quality, perhaps even one of those curly bulbs that are reputed to be more eco-friendly. But however wonderful the lamp, how wonderful the bulb, no light shines forth unless the vessel is connected to the source of power. We need to stay plugged in by reading the word, staying in personal touch with the Source, and shining forth to those around us.

In Sunday School we used to sing, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…” When I think of it now, I think it should be, “This little light I am,” but am doesn’t rhyme with shine, does it?

More on that little chorus: “Hide it under a bushel, NO! I’m gonna let it shine…”

What does that mean for the mature believer? I believe that in a time when the world and the culture we live in are growing darker and darker, we need to BE the light of the world, but we do hide our light. We hide it under self-consciousness, self-centeredness, self-preservation. In short: Self. This self-focus is surely a “deed of darkness.”

When Jesus declares us to be the light of the world, it is so that others may see, and so we can bring them to the source of all light.

I’m getting old. That’s just a fact. But until Jesus pulls my plug, I need to press on.

The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness and let us put on the armor of light. Romans 13:12

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3 thoughts on “This Little Light of Mine

  1. This one really has a special meaning for me. Since I am 75 and feeling it some days I find myself wondering about what is to come in my life. I pray that I have let my light shine and that I will leave something worth leaving when my time comes.

    Elaine, I do enjoy your writings and wish I had your talent to express my self in writing as you do.

    We were such brief friends but blogging keeps us in touch. Keep up the good work.

  2. No, we are not brief friends! Granted our friendship has been conducted primarily over the internet, we are sisters in Christ, and that’s not brief–that’s forever!

  3. This is beautiful. Thank you for your ‘light’ in this post. I’ve read it twice now and it’s been a very nice reminder for me (especially today).

    Thank you again. I hope you’re having a nice Monday.

    Sarah

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