How is God calling you to spread His light?
Posted in , Nov 1, 2016
Light. It’s something we can’t live without, yet something we often take for granted. Psalm 119 tells us, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psalm 119:105). In modern America, where electricity illuminates all things brightly, we tend to assume this means that God will make the path clear and easy to see. But the amount of light shed by an oil lamp—the kind the Psalmist sung about—was far less than we’d be comfortable with today.
Imagine walking through the streets of a village in 500 B.C. at midnight, with only the stars above and the flicker of a lamp the size of your palm for guidance. Your eyes would be intently fixed on the faint illumination of your path, to avoid tripping. You would be able to see only a few feet ahead and to the side. You would be keenly aware of the intense darkness surrounding you.
Sometimes we overlook obvious turns in the path because we’re expecting a flashing neon sign to tell us which way to go. We’re waiting for God to shake our hearts up with an earthquake like the one in Exodus 19:18. We want Him to announce Himself with a thunderous voice (John 12:29). However, it’s just as likely—perhaps more likely—He will communicate His will to us in a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12). And it’s very, very likely that what He asks of us will be something small and manageable.
When in doubt about what God wants you to do, work on what you can see needs to be done. Do that hated chore. Finish the project you’ve been avoiding. Call and make the medical appointment you’re afraid to make. Do every one of the things that is already visible in the little circle of light that’s illuminating your path before you complain that you can’t see where to go. God has often already shown us the answer to the question we’re asking.
Jesus said, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” (Luke 16:10). There is nothing shameful about being asked to work on little things. Often they’re exactly what we need to prepare our hearts to spread the light of Christ in the way that God desires.
Brother Lawrence was an illiterate lay brother who lived in 17th century France. His holiness was so well-known that, although his work consisted of simple tasks like peeling potatoes, he was asked to dictate his thoughts for the benefit of others. “We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed,” he said in The Practice of the Presence of God.
When we go out to do great things for God, we mustn’t forget that we can do great things by doing little things with love. You can “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16), whether your deeds are as bright as a street light or as gentle as a clay oil lamp.