It doesn’t take that much light to see in the darkness. I often get dressed in the morning by turning on my iPhone flashlight and aiming it at the ceiling. It may be pitch black in the room, but just that small lightbulb makes it bright enough that I’m able to find the clothes I need and get around the room freely.
A little bit of light makes a huge difference. You may feel like you’re not making an impact on a person at all, but if you’re shining into their lives, they can’t help but notice it. Remember, “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (Jn 1:5), so any of the light of Jesus you can shine on a person is enough to pierce the darkness in their life.
One little beam can do some significant damage. In fact, here’s a science project you can try sometime. First, black out an entire room in the middle of a sunny day so absolutely no light can get in through your windows. Once you’ve done this, cut a tiny little hole in whatever material you used to cover the windows. Now take a few minutes and let your eyes adjust. After some time has passed, turn around and behold the camera obscura. On the wall opposite the hole you just cut, you should see the outside world projected upside down. You can see everything that’s happening outside of the room playing just like a movie, beamed in from the light coming through that hole.
That’s a pretty good example of what we do as Christians: we come alongside those in darkness, shine a little bit of light into their lives via the love we show them and broadcast the upside-down Kingdom of Heaven into their souls. It only takes one little beam to make a significant difference.
Sure, you may feel you’re hardly impacting someone, but if you are showing them even a little bit of the light of Jesus, you could be making a more drastic impact than you think. Light and darkness cannot exist in one place. Light always wins. So if you illuminate anyone’s darkness, they will have no choice but to see it.
And if you can shine bright enough, your light could outlast you. That’s how stars work. When we look at our night sky, we could be looking at a bunch of ghosts. Since light has a speed, it takes some time for starlight to reach the earth. Therefore, we’re looking at the light they put off many years ago. Some of them could be dead by now and we wouldn’t know for many years to come. Take for example, our closest star, the sun. You are currently living in the light it released 8 minutes and 20 seconds ago, because that’s how long it takes sunlight to reach the earth. You are always living in its past radiance.
Have you ever seen this analogy at play in people’s lives? When my Grandpa passed away, a large church was packed with people for his memorial service. His impact both as a person and a pastor was so significant that I had never heard anyone say a bad word about him. “Mearl the Pearl,” they called him—and the Pearl shined bright. To this day, people who knew my Grandpa (or even knew someone who knew my Grandpa), speak very highly of him. His love and his light have outlived his life and it’s still traveling around, illuminating lives.
The same could be said for all of the saints and heroes of the faith. Why do you know them today? Why do they still affect you? Because they let their “light shine before others, so that they may see their good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Mt 5:16).
Shine your lovelight on others that they might be freed of the hatred of the darkness.
This is an excerpt from my book, A Taste of Jesus.