Last week, at a Southern church, the message was given by Brother Bubba. And in Sunday school it was suggested I could know I was in a redneck church. It seems one fellow, when he learned of the miracle of Jesus feeding 5000 with two fish and two loaves of bread, asked whether the two fish were bass or catfish, and what bait had been used to catch them.
But Bubba’s message was about Lights in the World, and I was reminded of the medallions I shared in my post March 12, 2011. I really like the motto – Give Light – Always Faithful, and the three torches, and the NODO. It sums up so much – God will never abandon us, we are grateful for those that don’t abandon us, Jesus was light to a dark world, likewise we are to be lights in a dark world, and to be faithful in doing so. Those three torches can be for the three persons of the trinity.
Well, Bubba shared that there are four parts to being a light in the world. (1) a light must be lit. We cannot shine with The Light, if we don’t have the light of Christ inside us, accept His free gift, follow Him. (2) our light must be uncovered. If we hide it and don’t share it with others, it does not shine. (3) our light must be unhindered. If we are a child of God and allow Him to work in our lives, we will not present the darkness of arguing, complaining, bitterness, general negativity. We will give a positive light – not perfectly or always – but yes, faithfully. (4) the light must be fueled. The Word of Live fuels our fire, and gives us the passion to invest in others (like Paul), to sacrifice for others (as Christ did). This was based on Phil 2:12-18.
So we have a choice. Some have suggested that darkness is not really a thing – instead it is the absence of a thing – light. But when I contrast Give Light with giving off darkness, I see two distinct and definite things. When someone is negative, not only do they give off darkness, they suck the light out of those around them. Surly you have had the experience of listening to someone negative, someone looking for something from you, and in the process, draining your emotions, some of your positive feelings? The term I heard to describe this is an “emotional vampire.” Sucking your emotions, your energy, like blood, it’s the same as swallowing some of your light with their darkness. In fact, it turns out a book has been written about this, although I have not read it:
But the problem is not just negativity, a lot of it all boils down to how much we focus on ourselves, versus focusing on others, on their needs, on making a positive difference to others, on giving. Yet we have to guard from those emotional vampires that would take too much. Surely many of you have had experiences similar to those I remember – the times I have shared with someone, have invested in another person, have made a sacrifice for someone without expecting something in return – those are the most uplifting memories.
Allow me to share a memory of an observation of someone investing in others, a memory I find uplifting, as was the original experience. In Chinandega, Nicaragua, there is a pastor named Francisco. Of his many ministries, he works with the inmates of the Chinandega prison. I have entered the prison with him and others, and watched him feed the prisoners, not only with meals, but with music and spiritual food in a regular Bible study. I saw a graduation ceremony for that Bible study, and there was one part of what I witnessed that spoke to me of Giving Light. Two prisoners, who had served their time, who had been released to freedom, chose to return to the prison, re-enter the gates, listen to the gates lock closed behind them, to be able to participate with Francisco in the graduation.
So I ask myself, how can I give more light? How can I give less negativity, less darkness, not suck the light of others away? How can I share and invest, Good Love, Better Love? Time flies, but there is time for all the things I demonstrate are important to me by spending time on them. Decide to do it – Give Light. And be faithful.