This Little Light of Mine

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 … let your light shine … – Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 5:16 NIV

I remember the moment clearly. A spanking new student teacher, I stood in front of a classroom for the first time. Perhaps I was a bit nervous. I don’t remember. What I do remember is, at that moment, a light went on inside me—and has never gone out.

I’d found my calling—the purpose for which I was created—and joy flooded my soul.

The road to that moment wasn’t easy. Growing up in the shadow of a gifted and popular older sister, I struggled with self-confidence and wormed my way through an identity crisis before the term was even coined. It didn’t help that I looked and sounded like my older sister Judy (I didn’t think so, but everyone else did).

In school, teachers wondered why I didn’t get the grades Judy did. And I wondered why my classmates didn’t like me as much her classmates liked her. Mine mockingly called me “Miss Popularity.” When we got older and the boys started coming around—not for me, of course—I found it to my advantage that our voices sounded alike over the phone.

It wasn’t until college—and nearly a hundred miles from my hometown, where no one knew Judy existed—that I finally found myself. I didn’t have to bask in anyone else’s light. I was free to shine my own.

But old habits die hard. In the let’s-mock-Michele years, I’d learned it was better to hide in a corner than risk attention if I let my light shine too brightly. People have a way of putting you in what they think is your place—and it isn’t to outshine them. I found that if I was too good at what I did, people would get envious and not like me. And I wanted to be liked. Besides, I thought hiding in a corner, not letting my light shine, was being humble.

Is that why God created me? Or you? To hide in a corner? Has He not given each person at least a seed of talent that we are to develop and use for Him (Matthew 25:14–30)? And hasn’t He given each of us a special place in His kingdom? A unique job to do? And hasn’t He given us what we need to accomplish that job? (1 Corinthians 12:7; Ephesians 4:7-13)

“You are the light of the world,” He said.

Wait a minute—isn’t Jesus the Light of the World? Yes, He is. But His physical presence is no longer on this earth. Instead, He shines through each of His followers, who are to take His light to a world where moral decay and selfish lifestyles create an ever-increasing darkness.

We are not to hide the light He has put in us under busyness (the jar/vessel in Luke 8:16 represents work) or beneath idleness (the bed). Nor are we to bury the special abilities He has planted in us.

So don’t be afraid to let your light shine, Child of God. That’s why He created you.

Dear God, let Your light shine in and through me. Amen.

Read and reflect on Matthew 5:14–16.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3, © 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Getting into the Game

“I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved.” – Jesus, as quoted in John 10:9 (NIV)

When our son gave us tickets for a Pittsburgh Pirates home game a number of years ago, I got online to see what we could and could not take in. It had been quite a while since Dean and I had been to PNC Park, and I wanted to review the rules.

Hubby and I aren’t big spenders, so we rarely purchased concession stand food. Oh, I know it’s part of the ballpark experience, but our wallets can stretch only so far. We usually packed a cooler with a picnic lunch. One time we munched on sandwiches on a grassy, shady spot not far from the ballpark.

A few days before the game, I googled “PNC PARK” and clicked on the information page for food and beverage/gate policy.

A hard-sided cooler was out, but we were allowed one soft-sided bag each, no larger than 16 x 16 x 8 inches. No ice packs or cooler inserts. Sealed, clear water bottles no larger than 24 ounces were allowed, but not carbonated beverages, sports drinks, cans, or thermoses. Bags were subject to be checked. No surprises there.

But there was a new policy that semi-surprised me: Every person had to go through a metal detector before being allowed in the ballpark. It was similar to going through the security checkpoint at the airport, except you didn’t have to take your jacket, belt, and shoes off. And you can keep your wallet, keys, and watch. But your cell phone, tablet, laptop and camera had to go in a tray as you walked through the detector.

In light of today’s world, this was for the safety and protection of everyone who attended the game.

Someday we’ll all stand at the gate of heaven. We won’t have to worry about taking food in—indeed, all who enter will enjoy a banquet of unimaginable proportions. And we won’t need any of our electronic gadgets. Everything we need for our eternal life will be waiting for us in the dwelling place (some versions use the word “mansion”) Jesus said He’d prepare for us (John 14:2).

Although we won’t have to pass through a device that detects things that aren’t allowed in (see Revelation 21:8; 22:15—in short, sin), we do have to pass through the one and only gate that will allow us in: Jesus Himself.

“I am the gate,” He said. “Whoever enters through Me will be saved” (John 10:9).

“I am the way, the truth, and the life,” He said. “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

And again: “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11–12).

Walking through the gate of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all the sin that would keep us out of heaven.

Have you passed through the gate? Have you gotten into the game?
  
Thank you, God, for providing the way into Your home. Amen.

Read and reflect on John 10:7–11.