“HEY, WOULD YOU LIKE A GLOW STICK? We are handing out free glow sticks to kids tonight. Would you like one?”
One by one, my friends and I passed out glow sticks to people from our community waiting to watch fireworks. Each glow stick had a piece of paper tied to it that gave our church contact information along with John 3:16 and the phrase “Whosoever is YOU.”
As we gave the glow sticks away, I silently prayed that God would direct us to the right people and that he would bless what our assistant pastor called “the glowstick outreach.” We walked down the road until all of the glow sticks were in the hands of little kids waiting for the show to start. Hopefully the parents had read the paper and we would get some calls to pick up more kids for the Sunday night bus route. My friends and I headed back to sit with our church group and waited for the fireworks to start.
Soon the sky was lit up with sparkles. Boom! Bang!
Every loud boom was followed by an explosion of color and little crackles as the sparks fizzled out. We watched and “ooh”ed and “aah”ed at each firework, pointing out our favorites and admiring how awesome it all was. Then out of seemingly nowhere, a tiny light started to float across the sky. Someone had lit a paper lantern (like the ones in Tangled). It floated across the sky and through the clouds. Next to the big, booming fireworks, it seemed small and insignificant. Yet as one firework after another would fade out, it was constant and steady, climbing slowly upwards.
We are told in Matthew 15:14-16, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
On a warm July evening, I saw different types of light. They all were noticeable. They all were light, but they did different things and accomplished different goals. I think all three are excellent examples of different types of ministry and ways to spread the light of the Gospel.
One on one:
The glow sticks were small, yet they were personable. We didn’t have enough for the whole crowd, but the ones who did receive a glow stick appreciated the time we took to give it to them. The glow sticks were something tangible. They could be held and used right there to light up a small space. Often times ministry needs to be relatable and tangible. It’s hard, yet effective to build relationships with those around us and be a witness to them by the way we live out our day-to-day life. I like the phrase that says, “You may be the only Bible some people ever read.” Are you being a light to those around you? Your friends? Coworkers? People you pass in the store? It may seem small and silly, but you can and are making a difference.
Loud and for a crowd:
The fireworks were huge! For about 45 minutes the show went on. It was beautiful and memorable, but only lasted for a short time. I would encourage every Christian to get involved in your local church and help out in a weekly ministry. Yes, it’s only for 45 minutes or an hour, but that time can be packed with powerful truth that will leave a lasting impression of the Gospel. Jesus often spoke to large crowds. Preachers preach every Sunday. Children’s Church teachers share God’s word in songs or skits. This way of sharing light is important and vital. Get involved today! Even if being up front isn’t “your thing,” there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that needs to be done for Sunday worship services to run smoothly. Ask your pastor what you can do to help spread light to “the crowd” that’s comes every week to your church.
Steady and faithful:
The little lantern wasn’t like the glow sticks. It wasn’t something close up or in your face. It wasn’t like the fireworks either. Everyone didn’t see it and it wasn’t the center of attention. Yet it was there. While firework after firework faded away, it kept glowing and sailing through the sky. We need steady, faithful Christians who live their lives as a shining light. They won’t waver in their faith or back down in rough times. They stand firm for truth and love with a Christlike love. Not everyone will see them. Not everyone will notice, but those who do will be impacted and encouraged. What you do impacts more people than you think. There are people watching what you like on Facebook and post on Instagram. They know that you say you’re a Christian and expect you to act like one. Let’s make a point to walk the talk. Let’s remember to live up to the high calling that we are called.
So do you see yourself as one of those lights? Do you see a way that you could shine better for Jesus? This year as you celebrate freedom with lots of light, I hope you’re reminded that you are the light of a very dark world. Shine for Jesus!