Go Light Your World, Go Light Your Universe

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

“Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” Genesis 15:5 NLT 

Of course Abram’s most important descendant is Jesus, but each descendant has his or her own sphere of influence just like the stars. The other day I was reading a book about stars to a group of first graders when a thought came to me. While our sun gives us light by day and even by night via its reflection off the moon, the stars still contribute to lighten our nights. That means that while being  the sun in another solar system galaxies away, that sun in another solar system contributes its light to our solar system as well even though to us it is just another one of the billion stars. Likewise if you are a parent, to your family you are the sun, but to your children’s friends you are still a star as your influence goes beyond your own family or “solar system.” If you are a teacher or pastor or Sabbath School teacher you are the sun to your class or church, but often throughout the day a teacher and pastor will minister outside their own church or class. It may be as small as tying the shoe of child in the hallway from another classroom or just speaking a word of encouragement in an assembly. For a pastor it may be getting a random phone call from someone who has a problem they are too embarrassed to talk to their own pastor about. And of course a sphere of influence is not limited to parents, pastors and teachers. I think the universe teaches us a valuable lesson that just as the sun’s light is not limited to its own solar system so our light goes beyond our little sphere as well.  I am just using pastors and teachers as an easy example. A teacher may be the sun in her classroom (solar system) but she is still a star giving light to the rest of her school (Universe or if you are a college professor you can say university, pun intended.) A pastor may be the sun to his church but he is still a star in his conference and community. 

A sun of course is simply a star and even the closest star is still 5.88 trillion miles away, but amazingly we still benefit from its light. It should be a sobering thought to realize how far away our influence is felt. We may be thinking we are too small or far away to make a difference but we do make a difference often without even realizing it. Years ago I was working in a 5th and 6th grade Adventist classroom. One day I was walking to my car when I saw a group of fourth graders playing football. A girl was running with the ball while the boys were trying to catch her. I yelled our her name and said, “Run! Run!” I got in my car and drove away never giving it another thought. The next morning the girl’s mother came up to me and told me, “My daughter told me she was playing football with the boys yesterday and was running with the ball. She said she was about to give out and about to get caught when she heard you call out her name and yell run. She said that gave her an extra boost of energy and she ran for the touchdown!” 

While I was not the sun in her classroom, by speaking three simple encouraging words I was one of hopefully billions of stars speaking encouraging words into her life. While I got in my car and never gave it another thought I found out later those simple words made a difference. A big enough difference she had to share them with her mother. 

“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.” Matthew 5:14-16. NLT

My friend, go light your world. Go light your universe.  

"Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever." Daniel 12:3 NLT 

Christmas in Light of the Cross, Day 22 (Beyond the Manger, Words of Encouragement)

 

I am writing tonight near the beautiful campus of Southern Adventist University

I am writing tonight near the beautiful campus of Southern Adventist University

Have you ever heard somebody that you thought really had a gift for words? You know I don’t remember every gift everyone has ever given me, but I always remember how people’s words made me feel.

I remember working at the Campus Kitchen, a fast food restaurant, on the campus of Southern Adventist University back in the 1980’s. I was delivering people’s food to their tables. One day we were swamped and I was running way behind. People were complaining and rightfully so. However, when I finally got a lady in her 30’s or 40s her lunch, I apologized for her wait. She told me she could tell we were busy and that I was working very hard, running all over the place, as best I could. She did something nobody had ever done at the CK before or since. Tipping was not customary at the CK, but instead of complaining, she gave me a $5.00 tip, which at that time would have been about a 100% tip! She told me she wished she had more to give me. She told me she knew it was hard working your way through college and that I was doing a great job. You know, thirty years later, the $5.00 is long gone and has been for quite a while. But what is lodged into my mind forever are her kind words. Her kind words encouraged me long after Abe was gone. Let’s take a look at how Jesus used words as a gift even in His growing up years.

He passed by no human being as worthless, but sought to apply the saving remedy to every soul. In whatever company He found Himself, He presented a lesson that was appropriate to the time and the circumstances. He sought to inspire with hope the most rough and unpromising, setting before them the assurance that they might become blameless and harmless, attaining such a character as would make them manifest as the children of God. Often He met those who had drifted under Satan’s control, and who had no power to break from his snare. To such a one, discouraged, sick, tempted, and fallen, Jesus would speak words of tenderest pity, words that were needed and could be understood. Others He met who were fighting a hand-to-hand battle with the adversary of souls. These He encouraged to persevere, assuring them that they would win; for angels of God were on their side, and would give them the victory. Those whom He thus helped were convinced that here was One in whom they could trust with perfect confidence. He would not betray the secrets they poured into His sympathizing ear. -Ellen White, Desire of Ages, Pages 91-92

Let’s remember during this season of family get togethers, and always, that words will be remembered long after the things we gave as gifts are gone.