Can you imagine if light bulbs could talk?
I can see myself pulling out a bulb, and it starts screaming “Put me ANYWHERE but in a DARK ROOM! I’m terrified of the dark! It’s so so so…you know…dark! Put me in a bright well lit room with lots of great 300 watt bulbs.”
Me: “Really? Sorry pal – that’s a one way trip to the trash can for you. Sheesh. Gotta read the label next time – only mute bulbs for me. Hate the talking bulbs. I’m glad trees don’t talk. They’d scream every time you cut one down…”
I need the light bulb to…wait for it…wait for it….LIGHT UP the dark room! That’s the WHOLE PURPOSE OF THE LIGHT BULB (all caps actually does means I’m yelling for emphasis).
God says the same thing about you and me. We are to be a light to a dark world.
I’ve heard folks complain over the years about the world being dark (no argument here) and their work place being dark. And that may be true too. But I’ve also heard folks say “I’ve gotta get another job because of the darkness.” And THAT may or may not be true.
If the darkness means you have to compromise your faith to work there, then by all means God’s call is to leave. But if not, it just may be that you are that light that God has put in the darkness.
Here is a verse that seems so contradictory when you first consider it: But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries. (1 Corinthians 16:8-9)
Wait..What?!?!?! Which is it? Wide door? Or many adversaries? A wide door has to be an easy door, and adversaries has to mean a closed door! It can’t be both. I mean if God’s called me to do something it’s gotta be my best life now, open doors, smooth sailing and noooo problems. Adversaries means God has closed the door. Right? Right?
But Paul is in Ephesus – a dark dark place. Much darker than the United States right now. Temple prostitutes, religious rituals that were bloody and sexual and indescribable evil. It was one of those places you’d think “this is so dark that Jesus has to be coming back now!”
And there are adversaries! People who want to stop Paul. But he says it’s a wide door for effective work.
In fact, because of Paul’s work, Christianity takes such a hold in that place that the local population riots against it. It seems that the new Christians aren’t buying enough idols and it’s hurting the silversmiths’ business AND it’s making them very defensive about the goddess Artemis (Diana if you’re Roman). Even though she has a temple almost twice the size of a football field and it’s on the top seven list of “wonders of the ancient world” she can’t hack it against a ragtag bunch of religious nuts worshiping this “Jesus.” It’s such a controversy that the entire city comes out and a mob grabs Paul’s traveling companions and then yells in the streets for two solid hours, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” They only stop when the town government worker comes off of his four-hour lunch break and settles them down.
All because this ruckus because Paul sees this dark place with adversaries as a place to shine his light (Matthew 5:16).
And that’s God’s call to you and to me. To shine our light – not just in the bright places like Sunday morning church, but in the dark places, whether where we work, or minister, or God has called us to a mission in the world.
What if, just this week, you began to ask God how He wants you to be a light, wherever you are? Just begin to ask “Jesus my King, how do you want me to be light, a faithful witness in the dark place I find myself?” And then do what He says.