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Sharing the Light

The creative act of separating light from darkness is ongoing. As long as darkness is present in the form of evil, chaos and confusion, God will be working to create light and separate the light from the darkness, bringing order to a disordered world.

Tent by tent, the batteries in their flashlights die. At the end of this battery commercial all the boys are in one small tent, sharing the light with the kid whose flashlight is still burning.
In the Bible, light is used as a metaphor for holiness and darkness is used for evil. This is easy to understand. Even children understand the loneliness and fear associated with darkness. Many children go to sleep at night with a night-light burning so they will not be afraid of the dark.
As far back as the opening sentences of Genesis, darkness was used to illustrate that which was not good. The Bible says the earth was formless and empty. Darkness was over the surface of the deep. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. The first thing God did was create light and separate the light from the darkness. God said that it was good.
The creative act of separating light from darkness is ongoing. As long as darkness is present in the form of evil, chaos and confusion, God will be working to create light and separate the light from the darkness, bringing order to a disordered world.
A Chinese farmer, after having cataracts removed by a missionary doctor, made his way from the Christian compound to the interior of China. After a few days, the missionary doctor looked out of his bamboo window and noticed this formerly blind man holding the front end of a long rope. In single file, and holding to the rope behind him, were several dozen blind Chinese whom the farmer had rounded up. They had followed him for miles to the doctor who had worked the “miracle” on his eyes.
What a recommendation! Restored sight was cause enough for this man to share what had happened to him with those of like condition. This is the role of those who have the light-to lead those who don’t to it.
The job of a Christian is to be a John the Baptist for others. Our job is to point people to Jesus, who once said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (Jn 8:12).
More than just point people to the light, Christians need to carry the light into people’s darkness.
On occasion, James the Fifth of Scotland would lay aside the royal robe of king and put on the simple robes of the peasant. In such a disguise, he was able to move freely about the land, making friends with ordinary folk, entering into their difficulties, appreciating their impediments, sympathizing with them in their sorrow. And when as king he sat again upon the throne, he was better able to rule over them with fatherly compassion and mercy (see Ian Burnett, Lord of All Life).
Our Lord Jesus laid aside his heavenly wardrobe and exchanged it for a human one. He moved freely among us, made friends with ordinary people, entered into difficult situations with humankind, even death. Jesus walked within a dark world, sharing the light. The writer of Hebrews says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin” (Heb 4:15-16).
Jesus knows us and understands. He walked among us and continues to walk with us through his Holy Spirit. His life was a light in a dark world. His life continues to be light in a dark world. Just as John the Baptist came to point people toward the Light of the World, Christians must do the same.
Christians need to be a John the Baptist to those in darkness. Otherwise, we keep our light to ourselves. What good is a light if it’s hidden from those who need it?
Michael Helms
is pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Moultrie, Ga. A version of this column first appeared in The Moultrie Observer.