Light of the What?

Gwen Smith Blog, Evangelism, Faith 21 Comments

The hike up the mountain was a tough one. Flimsy patches of shade dangled from the trees but they were no match for the brutal Pennsylvania mid-summer heat. The rocky, three-mile vertical jaunt was only tamed by the fun being had along the way with the other camp counselors.

We talked. We sang. We laughed.

It was a week before the campers would arrive. All the counselors gathered for training that prepared us for the lessons and activities we would lead kids in all summer long. Caving was one of the optional camp activities so we went as a team of counselors to experience it before we led it.

When we finally reached the entrance of the cave and stepped down into the mouth I breathed a sigh of relief. I’d never been caving before and I didn’t know what to expect, but the benefits of “no more heat” were very appealing to me those first few minutes. We grabbed our flashlights, turned them on, filed in one by one, and began moving down the dark entrance corridor.

After I grew accustomed to the cooler temperature of the cave, I secretly got a bit freaked out by my surroundings. As passageways grew smaller and smaller and we trekked deeper and deeper into the cave, my mind flooded with questions. Is there enough air in here to support life? Who signed me up for this?What happens if we get lost down here? I have to crawl on my belly to go forward… wait, what?

Yeah. For real. It was something else.

I don’t think I’m necessarily claustrophobic, but let’s just say “comfortable and brave” aren’t the words I’d use to describe how I was feeling mid-cave. I strapped on my courage, breathed a steady stream of silent prayers, and stayed close to the friend in front of me as we followed the guide who was leading our group.

An hour or so into the spelunking expedition, he led us into a room. Yes. A room in the middle of a cave. {And, yes. I was thinking about Marshall, Will and Holly… and hissing Sleestaks and Cha-Ka. Because this is normal behavior for those of us born between 1968 and 1975.}

This inner room was big enough for the entire group of counselors. There must’ve been at least 40 of us that day. We all loaded in and chit-chatted excessively.

“Can I have everyone’s attention, please?” Our guide summoned us to silence.

Giggles and conversations trailed off…

“We are in the heart of the cave. This room has no natural source of light whatsoever. Only what we have brought with us: the flashlights. It’s a darkness that is different than anything you’ve ever experienced. To illustrate this, I’d like everyone to switch off your lights.”

Gulp. Okay.

“Try to see the person beside you. You can’t. Hold your hand up in front of your face. Wave it around. You can’t see it. This is a space void of light.”

We ooohed and ahhhed, and tried our hardest to see… with no success.

Then he lit a match.

One. Tiny. Match.

And the whole room was visible.

Darkness was invaded. Conquered. Shoved back. Forced to flee and acquiesce to one itty-bitty source of light.

And he began to tell a familiar story that stirred my soul in a fresh way.

“A long time ago, on the other side of the world, on a hillside near Capernaum Jesus sat down with a group of ordinary people just like you and me. He looked them in the eye and said to all who believed…

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 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. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

Then he went on to commission us for the work that lies ahead. He challenged us to be mindful of light’s impact and to go back to the campground and be that light all summer long. To the campers. To the counselors. To everyone we came in contact with.

I was gripped.

Gripped by the power of light. Gripped by this word that Jesus said describes me. IS me. Is my purpose… my calling… my commissioning – for that summer… this winter… every day.

Light.

I am the light of the world. Not because of any glittery glow of my own but because I am handcrafted, redeemed, restored, and refined by THE Light of the World who blows away any and all darkness that tries to dominate.

You are the light of the world too. And those around you in your family, your workplace, community, and even in your church are in great need of seeing an un-hidden, unapologetic light that serves and loves others in such a way that they would simply have to respond to God with praise.

Go on now… shine!

 

Dear Lord,
My heart is blown wide open when I think of the power You possess to not just impact, but annihilate darkness with light. Please forgive me for the times when I forget who I am in You and fail to shine. Help me to live and love in such a way that it would cause others to want to know and worship You.
In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE

Read Psalm 27:1. What three names is God called by the psalmist in this verse? Should knowing Him as your light, salvation, and stronghold affect the way you live out your faith? Why or why not?

What one thing can you do to live-out the light of Jesus today? Will you do it? {I’d love to hear about it. Click here to tell me your one thing on the wall of my blog… or send me a DM with your answer on Instagram or Twitter: @GwenSmithMusic}

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Comments 21

  1. I read this devotion this evening to my surprise it is so relevant to my experience today. I went shopping with my daughter who is 15, as we were browsing I heard a woman ask her friend if she was hungry I turned to look and laughed because my daughter and I had just said the exact words. It opened conversation. We laughed and shared a 2 minute talk. But as I spoke with these two ladies I noticed a familiarity about them. I could tell they were women of faith much like the women I grew up around in my church. (Holiness) is the word I was always taught to describe this look. But there was something different, and my daughter saw it too. I am no longer a part of the church I grew up in, but one thing i always saw in a lot of the women i grew up around was their unfriendly behavior, as well as never seeming to be happy. And in my personal experience it was if you dont believe the way we do you are doomed. As I walked away from these 2 women i felt compelled to let them know how they had blessed me with their sweetness and they were truly representing Jesus, I felt that and my daughter did as well. After about 10 minutes I went back over to them and let them know just that. They were so amazed at my words one hugged me and we just shared a brief moment of light with one another. And on top of all of it my daughter witnessed this as well. It was just a beautiful moment with women of faith with different views drawn together by the light of Jesus. Thank you for sharing this devotion. The more I grow in Christ the more I see of his strength and my desire to share and shine to others.

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  2. For a while now I have been consumed with this idea of purpose. I intently pray about it, waiting for a grand situation where I am able to show my light. In this devotional when you stated being the light IS our purpose, it hit me. Instead of waiting for this grand situation to sit atop a platform and pour out my testimony, it needs to be a daily interaction. When someone comments on my glow, my smile, my parenting, my temperament, instead of a coy thank you, I should use those daily interactions to show my light, give credit and praise to the One who makes everything possible for me. It is opposite to my nature to hold such conversations or put myself out there, giving people a glimpse into my being. However, if I am to draws other closer to God, I have to step out of my comfort zone & shine brightly & boldly, daily. Thanks for a great devotion!

  3. Great message today. I prayed that God would forgive me for my actions that were sinful last night. Knowing that he sees and knows all that we do in the dark.

  4. I’m not exactly sure, but I’m believing in Jesus that I am a light for my family. We’ve just experienced a death in the family and it was unexpected. Not know for sure if my son really believed in God or not, for his own reasons, and knowing his wife does and is teaching my 8yr old grandson about God and knowing he too believes in God because he hears mommy and grandma talk about Him all the time…today my son looked at me and ask me to pray to whoever it is or whatever it is that I believe in for a blessing. See, we didn’t have the money for a proper funeral, but a blessing did come. The county helped us out. Then the clutch went out on his car. So he was hoping for a blessing for it getting fixed. Thankfully he has a backup truck for work. And their jeep is broke and waiting for insurance to decide if they will cover the repair cost. I prayed as did his wife. Asking God to intervein for them. I believe God will. God’s been good to us all. He even helped my son be able for me to live with him as I can’t afford to live on my own. So I trust God to work His blessings into my son’s life all the way around. I do believe it will help him decide that there is a God, and that Jesus does live and love him. Taking it slow with my son, He’s been raised to be a Christian as a child. I believe that your to raise your child in the knowledge of God and they won’t part from it when they are older. I’m seeing this to be true. Thank You, God

  5. Today I let God’s light shine by praying for my daughter and the others present in the waiting room at the hospital. ( not super loud- I’m a quiet person) for God’s presence and peace. For the holy spirit to guide each Dr and procedure. Thanks GIG for inspiring us to shine in the the Lord.

  6. Thank you for GIG and the messages off of that bring light and hope. Today I let God’s light shine by praying for daughter in the hospital waiting room. ( not loudly- I am a quiet person) but my prayer was not only for her , but the others in the room as well. For God to lead and the holy spirit to guide and bless each procedure. May God’s light shine!

  7. About a month ago, in our group of women that do a weekly bible study, we were asked for someone to head the youth group for our church. I simply dismissed it at the time but it has been back of my mind. I will now start praying for guidance to find out if this is the way that my light will shine.

  8. I always try to be helpful to those around me. Sometimes to the point of neglecting my own chores or projects at home. I recently took care of a friends Arabian horse farm while they were away at a show. I stay with the farm owners mom when I am there. She is 85 and so sweet. She wanted to take me out for breakfast and dinner each day. That normally would be an easy decision but with 14 stalled horses plus many outside, 9 dogs, 1 cat and 100 plus birds to care for, it was very hard for me to get everything done without stops to eat. And because I was cleaning stalls etc. I couldn’t just go with getting cleaned up.

    But I’m very glad I took the time to take her out, She was very good company and I so enjoyed her stories. I think many of us say no to simply giving time to others because of the “stuff” we have to do. But the stuff will wait. We can never get back time. So when I sit and worry about the things I didn’t get done because I was helping or visiting with someone else. I need to remember that I may have brought them some joy that day by just giving some time.

  9. Today as my way of shining my light, I will continue to work on the Devotional that I am writing that is geared towards those who suffer from mental illness. God told me to “Write!” and I have been. Two poetry books have been published, but this is the project He laid upon my heart. It is my way of brightly shining my light!

  10. I typed a paper on how to be saved and distribute them to different places. Store bathrooms, restaurants, etc. I always try to be kind , thankful and respectable to those who serve us.

  11. Great message today! I will commit to being kind, compassionate and positive today and everyday. I want people to see God working through me.

  12. The one thing that I need to do today is to forgive Jenna. She is my son’s ex-wife, and they are dating again. This weekend she used my very best cooking pot to wash her dog, and lied to me about it. I am angry that she would be so thoughtless to use my cookware, but I am heartbroken that she would lie to me about it. I struggled with this anger all day yesterday, and today I know I must forgive her – but how?? Only Jesus. I pray for the strength to truly forgive. I pray that the Lord can use this experience to open her heart to Him. Lord, let me be a light.

  13. I spent 35 years working with homeless women and children and teens. I worked with homeless vets and those on drugs or mentally ill. I still help here in my area with once a month help feed them with church. Blessings my friend.

  14. Wow what a wonderful challenge today . I think smiling more and being joyful through every circumstance would demonstrate Gods light within us at work.
    Thank you have a blessed day ladies!😇

  15. Thank you for the scripture Psalms 27:1-2. I truly needed that this morning and I felt God speak to me through His Word.

  16. What a great story, reminding us that Jesus is the light of the world and for us to go and Shine On… in His Precious Name, by showing love, kindness and
    compassion to others always.

  17. I will share todays GIG in brought me to tears of gladness and I know it will touch others in an inspirational way. Thank you 🙏

  18. I am homeschooling a 14yo son and an 11yo daughter. The 11yo is a very independent learner and is easy to teach, at least at the moment. The 14yo, on the other hand, requires much attention. He is unwilling to do any of his work to the best of his ability; never has been. Each and every day doubt rears its head. How do I reach him? How do I get him to understand that I won’t be able to hold his hand in college? How do I get him to see that B’s and C’s he earns on his own are better than A’s he earns with me as his “crutch?” We’re not talking major university here–we’re talking local community college, followed possibly by our state university. So what can I do today to start showing some light? By praying when he starts to push my buttons, for starters. When I’m in the middle of a rough time with him, I tend to forget that. But I know that giving our day to the Lord won’t make it perfect, but will help how I handle things.

    1. Thanks. You just lit a little light in my world. I also live with someone who pushes my buttons often. Today I’ll try to handle it differently than I tend to by praying rather than pushing back.

  19. Hi Gwen! What a wonderful description of how to be the light of the world! I keep this quote from C.S. Lewis over my desk for those times when I’m a little less shiny than I should be… “Don’t shine so others can see you, shine so that through you, others can see Him.” Thanks so much for the encouragement to shine on!

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