“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Mat. 5:14-16)
Max Lucado describes when an electrical storm caused a blackout in the neighborhood. He felt his way through the darkness into the storage closet where he lit four candles.
But as he started to take the candles out of the closet they started speaking to him.
“You can’t take me out of this closet.”
I know this sounds strange but bear with me.
Max felt foolish but he answered the candles and said: “Why won’t you come out of the closet? You are meant to give light. You can’t give light in a closet.”
The first candle said, “I can’t come out of the closet because I’m not ready. I need more preparation.”
The second said, “I have important meetings to attend and I need to get better organized.”
The third candle said, “I’m still trying to get my life together. I can be a bit of a hothead.”
The fourth said, “Being a light to the world is not my gift. I am a singer and she began singing, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” The others soon joined in.
Finally in frustration, Max starting blowing the candles out just as they were singing, “Won’t let Satan snuff me out…”
As he walked back out into the darkness, he bumped into his wife and the story ends with this conversation.
“Where are the candles?” she asked.
“They don’t…they won’t work. Where did you buy those candles anyway?”
“They’re church candles. Remember the church that closed down across town? I bought them there.”
“Oh,” he replied. “Now I get it.”
I hope you smiled just a little as you read this.
How many in your church would say: “I’m not ready. I need more preparation.”
How many would say: “I’m not organized. We need more meetings.”
Or: “I’m still trying to get my own life together. Fix my own problems.”
Or: “This is not my gift. I would rather do something else.”
This in many ways is our frustration and challenge as a church. We are called to be a light to the world but so often we are keeping the light bottled up under a basket called, the church.
The truth is…
Every church at times contains people who would rather keep their light in the closet.
Every one of us, including you and me at times would rather keep our light in the closet.
So, why am I writing this?
First, to make you smile and see that you are not alone.
Second, to know that the answer will not come easily.
Third, to know that you are part of the answer.
My prayer for you this morning is to be open to God’s guidance and direction as you seek to be an example of the light and at the same time encourage others to join you.
May you feel God’s presence today.
May your light shine brightly today… inside at first but soon outside the closet.