Let It Shine!

Since my wife is at the beach for the ladies retreat, where I’m sure they won’t have internet and she won’t be able to read this, I’ll let you in on a little family drama. We have been having some family discord of late, but gratefully she took steps of repentance this week before she left. I am so relieved.

It all started when she picked up a couple of fashionable lamps for our bedroom, at a thrift store I think. I wasn’t sure what had been wrong with the lamps we already had, and didn’t really pay much attention to the new lamps. That is, until I realized after a while that I couldn’t see to read at night from the light coming from the lamp on the night stand next to my bed. Then I noticed, the lampshades were so dark, they were not allowing any light to come through them.

I remember learning in school of the three categories of material that allow light to come through them: transparent, translucent and opaque.  I will readily say I am no lampshade expert, but I would think that ideally, a lampshade would be transparent, or at worst translucent–so that at least some light could get through. But the shades on our lamps were clearly opaque. That’s not a shade, that’s a barrier. And it kind of defeats the point of having a light to begin with.

Now, I don’t see so well anyway these days, in my old age, so I surely don’t need any other hindrances to being able to see to read. And I lovingly brought this up to my dear wife, who suggested that the lampshades looked very nice. And I will have to admit, they were very classy and stylish, and I’m sure they impress everyone who comes into our bedroom, though I’m pretty sure that’s a fairly small group of people.

So after much weeping and gnashing of teeth–by me–we set out on a quest to find some new lampshades that fit those lamps. The problem is, apparently the lampshade industry these days is much more concerned with looks than utilitarian usefulness. So there’s a whole world of dark lampshades out there that block out lights.
Before she left this week, my bride finally found some white lampshades that let the light through them. They are not real attractive, but they do the trick. I can see again, which makes reading much easier. And all is happy in our home again. Which brings me to the point of this little missive–and yes, there is a point.

Let me illustrate that point with a line from a popular children’s song, that I have been singing to my wife just about every time the lamp discussion has come up: “Hide it under a bushel? NO!…I’m gonna let it shine!”

Of course, you probably know those lyrics from the song “This Little Light of Mine,” and the whole subject of the song is a reference to Jesus’ teaching in the sermon on the mount, where He told His followers, “You are the light of the world.”

He illustrated the point with basic logic: “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

It would be absurd, Jesus was saying, to light a lamp and then cover it up with a basket, or bushel (or opaque lampshade). And so it is pretty silly that we who are the light of the world would not be shining His light to all those around us who are stumbling around in the darkness.

So I have to ask:  Whose world are you lighting up for Jesus this week? Are you letting your light shine before men so that, seeing your life, they glorify the Father? Or are you living a “shady” life that keeps people from seeing Jesus? Don’t cover it up any more: let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

Have a blessed weekend. I look forward to seeing you Sunday. 

–Pastor Ken