When I was nineteen, I had the privilege of teaching kindergarten children at the church I attended. One of their favorite songs to sing was, “This Little Light of Mine.” We lifted up our index fingers and pretended they were our candles as we sang:
“This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. Hide it under a bushel, No! I’m going to let it shine. Hide it under a bushel, No! I’m going to let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”1
Matthew 5:14-16 records a parable that Jesus taught about a candle. “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel,2 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.” (KJV)
Several months ago I attended a meeting with a roomful of Christian college students. The speaker came to the lectern and began to share how God had changed her life. She had been a woman who was always busy doing good deeds for others, but in her heart she felt that she was just a faint shadow of the woman that she wanted to be. She did not know how to receive acceptance from the LORD because of the many severe rejections she had received from others.
She asked that the lights be turned off in the room; then she switched on an overhead projector. Instantly, we saw an image of a hand holding a lit match. The light shining on the matchstick formed a shadow on the backdrop. But something was missing. The flame produced illumination, but there was no shadow from the fire. Only the matchstick itself had a shadow, and the shadow that was being cast was of an unlit match! The speaker said the image represented how she had felt about herself – always feeling as if she were living her life in shadows. She had not been living in glowing light because of her lack of realization that she already had unconditional love and acceptance from Jesus. Once she realized that, it changed her life from its former pale-gray shadow, to an incandescent flame.
For me, the image was a profound example of JESUS coming into the world as The Light to dispel the darkness of sin. That darkness did not comprehend who He was. “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’” John 8:12 (KJV)
How can we, as followers of JESUS, be a flame that illuminates the darkness, and has the light of life? By being sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, we use the abilities GOD has given us to be a blessing to others. Spiritually, we can lead an unsaved person to The Light of the World. In a practical way, we can help others by doing yardwork or shoveling snow for an elderly neighbor, helping a young mother with her children, or by sharing food, or by the giving of our time. Wherever and whenever we
see a need, and we give aid, that is the
flame that lights the darkness for people
The apostle, Paul, wrote in 2Corinthians 4:6: “For GOD, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of GOD in the face of JESUS CHRIST.” We overcome our shadowed lives by receiving the glorious light of the gospel of JESUS and sharing it with others. That is how “This Little Light of mine” can shine.
1 Song by Harry Dixon Loes
2 The word bushel refers to a bowl or covering