You Are the Nightlight of the World

Feeling sad and discouraged, she read the words in Matthew 5: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  (v.14-15)

Really?

Where was that light when an old friend told her, “I don’t need Jesus. I don’t want Jesus.” She had been too confused to respond. How could anyone not want Jesus?

Where was that light when she visited her siblings? The discord she found there had worked its way inside her until she had gotten drawn into it. OK, maybe not as deeply as they were, but still. Where was her light?

Sadly, she read Matthew’s words again and thought, if Christians are the light of the world, I must be a nightlight. And I don’t seem to be doing a very good job at even that.

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That next couple of days, she kept getting the message to persevere. To take things one step at a time and not compare herself with others. She sighed. She’d rather be a bright light in the lives of those around her, but if the best she could be was a nightlight, then she’d persevere in being that nightlight. Yet, deep in her heart, she continued to struggle. How could Jesus be happy with her when her light was little more than that lamp under a bowl?

Years later, she received a letter from a friend.  In it, he described a vision he had had. He had seen a small girl, standing before Jesus, head down, ashamed because she feels she’s disappointed Him. He saw Jesus lift her head and tell her…

“I’ve told you time and time again – I love you just as you are. I didn’t create you to be a flame that bursts forth with brilliant light. You are my glowing ember and you will warm the hearts of many, many souls.”

Astonished, she knew this had to be from God. She had never told this friend about her struggle with not being a bright enough light. As peace replaced the struggle in her heart, she thanked God for this friend’s courage to share that message with her. And she thanked God for caring enough to let her know that being a low level light – a nightlight – was exactly what she was made to be, and it was OK.

“God, after all the times I ignored Your reassurances out of fear and doubt, You never gave up. Thank You for loving me enough to find a way to get Your message to me loud and clear. You’re amazing!”

I’m an Ear

She thought about what she had just heard. That some people have a gift for listening to others.

Was listening a gift? Isn’t that something anyone could do? That everyone should do?

Evidently not. Some people seem to be gifted the opposite way – they could talk about anything at anytime with anybody. In fact, she had noticed, they were so busy talking, they barely heard what anyone else said. If they even gave them time to get a word in. And they seemed intent on making their thoughts known regardless if anyone was actually listening or not.

She was not like that.

For some reason people thought she had this gift of listening.

“OK, Lord,” she prayed. “If listening is a gift, and if You’ve given it to me, I ask that You send me people who need someone to listen to them. I’m willing to be Your ear.”

So He did.

For the next three days, people came to her house and ended up talking at length to her. She listened to their problems, concerns, doubts, and fears. And they each left saying, “I don’t know why I told you all this. I didn’t mean to.”

But she did. God was answering her prayer.

“Am I really going to be an ear for Jesus?” she wondered excitedly. She thought of all the people who needed someone to just listen to them. She thought of the comfort and strength listening might bring them. Yes, this truly is a gift the body of Christ needs.  “Wow,” she thought. “I’m an ear for Jesus! What an amazing ministry this will be!”

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