As we approach Pentecost Sunday in a few weeks when the Holy Spirit came in like the wind and enlightened all those who breathed deeply of His love, we always are encouraged to look for the light…. The Light in the Darkness.
Let me share a story with you.
“ There was once a little boy who lived on a farm in the country. One evening he left his teddy bear outside. That night he tossed and turned. He tried to sleep, but he couldn’t. Finally he went over to his daddy and said, “Daddy, I left my teddy bear in the front yard. I need it.”
His father, who was half asleep, turned over and said, “Well, son, go on out and get it.”
The boy looked out the front door, but he couldn’t see anything. There was no moon out that night and it was pitch dark. He went back and woke up his mother. He said, “Mommy, I left my teddy bear outside. I need it. I can’t sleep.”
She said, “Here, son, is a flashlight.” He turned it on and put that beam of light out the door. But still, the beam didn’t go far enough and he couldn’t see the teddy bear. He went back to his parent’s room and talked to them together.
They said, “Son, when the flashlight was on, could you see far enough for your first step?”
He said, “Yes.”
They said, “Well, then step on that step. When you step on that step you’ll be able to see another step. Step on that step and walk in the light.” He did so.
He walked in the light with that flashlight a step at a time. He couldn’t see where he was going, but he walked in that light and was able to get his teddy bear and go back to sleep.
That’s an important lesson for us. We need to walk in the light of God.
“Let your light so shine before humans, that they may see your good works, and glorify your God which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
Even though we think we can’t reach beyond our “step”, our finger tips on the keys of the computer, we must remember that we have that “flashlight” and we become God’s light as we allow Him to work through us. We can take that one step forward, knowing that even though we can not see into the deep darkness that the Light is with us and we can go that extra mile – for each other. We can do what Jesus said … to become a point of light in our world.
“Faith is NOT a spectator sport. Life is NOT a spectator sport. Life to be life has to be lived. It has to be alive in you every moment.”
One day, a naturalist who was passing by a farm, saw in the barnyard a flock of chickens. Among them was an eagle. The naturalist inquired of the owner why it was that an eagle, the king of all birds, could be reduced to living in the barnyard with chickens.
“Well,” the farmer said, “Since I’ve given it chicken feed and it thinks it’s a chicken, it has never learned to fly. It behaves as a chicken behaves, so it no longer thinks of itself as an eagle.”
“Still,” insisted the naturalist, “It has the heart of an eagle. It surely should be taught to fly.” After talking it over, the two men agreed to find out whether this was possible.
Gently, the naturalist took the eagle in his arms, looked into its eyes and said, “You belong in the sky and not to the earth. Stretch forth your wings and fly!” The eagle, however, was confused. He did not know who he was. Seeing the chickens down there eating their food, he jumped down with them again.
Undismayed, the naturalist took the eagle on the following day up on the roof of the house and urged him again saying, “You are an eagle. Stretch forth your wings and fly!”
But the eagle was afraid of his unknown self and the unknown world and jumped down once more for chicken food.
On the third day, the naturalist rose early and took the eagle out of the barnyard to a very high mountain.
There he held the king of birds up high above him and encouraged him again to fly saying, “You are an eagle.
You belong to the sky as well as the earth. Stretch forth your wings and fly!” The eagle looked back towards the barnyard and up to the sky, and still he did not fly.
Then, the naturalist lifted him straight toward the sun, and it happened. The eagle began to tremble. Slowly he stretched forth his wings. At last, with a triumphant cry, he soared into the heavens.
It may be that the eagle still remembers the chickens with nostalgia. It may even be that he occasionally revisits the barnyard. But as far as anyone knows, he has never returned to lead the life of a chicken.
He was an eagle although he had been kept and tamed as a chicken.
Just like the eagle, some people have learned to think of themselves as something less than they really are, less than God created them to be.
They can decide in favor of who they really are, once again with God’s help.
I want to share this with you. It’s called “The Cowpath.” Listen to the words of this poetry.
One day, through primeval wood
A calf walked home as good calves should.
But made a trail, all bent askew;
A crooked trail as all calves do.
The trail was taken up the next day
By a lone dog that passed that way,
And then a wise bell-wearer sheep
Pursued the trail over vale and steep
And drew the flock behind him, too
As good bell-weathers do.
And from that day over hill and glade
Through those old woods a path was made.
And many folks wound in and out
And dodged and turned and bent about.
And uttered words of righteous wrath
Because t’was such a crooked path.
But they still followed … do not laugh…
The first migrations of that calf.
This crooked lane became a road
Where many a poor horse with his load
Toiled on beneath the burning sun
And traveled some three miles in one.
And thus a century and a half
They trod, the footsteps of that calf.
The road, before they were aware,
Became a crowded thoroughfare.
And soon the central street was this
Of a renowned metropolis.
And people, two centuries and a half,
Trod in the footsteps of that calf.
They followed still his crooked way
And lost one hundred years a day.
And thus such reverence is lent
To well-established precedence.
A moral lesson might teach
Were I ordained and called to preach,
For people are prone to go it blind
Along the calf paths of the mind.
And work away from sun to sun
And do what others have always done.
They follow in the beaten track
And out and in, forth and back.
And still their devious course pursued
To keep the path that others do.
But how the old, wise wood gods laugh
Who saw that first primeval calf.
Each and every day you are to walk in the light of your faith in God; it does not matter that you may not know your destination or how long you will be traveling. You are to walk as far as you can see, as far as you are guided. Remember who you are. You are a son or daughter of the Most High, our Loving God who handed you that flashlight. Do not be blinded by the path of others. You are a co-creator with God. We are here to work with God to make a difference.
Think about this thought provoking question: What if, as your fate, you had to come back in another lifetime into the situations you have created for others?
If that were true: What then would you create? How would your journey change, if at all. What messages would you send to them. The thing that makes people and rivers crooked is always following the path of least resistance. It is not always the best way. We are here to follow the path of letting our light shine. That’s what following the path of Jesus Christ is.
An ad appeared in a London newspaper many years ago that said, “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success.”
The ad was signed by Sir Ernest Shackleton, Antarctic explorer. Thousands responded instantly to the call. They were ready to sacrifice everything for the elation of adventure and uncertain honor.
We should do the same as children of God. Why don’t we? Because we are sometimes afraid. Often when one talks about being afraid, we immediately picture soldiers in war, or emergency crisis situations, but actually, often courage rises in the individual during desperate times. Being afraid often happens in ordinary ways on ordinary days.
Are we afraid of life?
“When we are afraid to listen, we only talk.
When we’re afraid to be with others, we make sure we’re alone.
Are we afraid to make good friendships?
Are we afraid we might reveal too much of ourselves?
Are we afraid to touch and be touched?
Are we afraid of letting our defenses down?
Are we afraid to recommit ourselves?
Are we afraid of success?
Are we afraid to try again?
Are we afraid to forgive?”
Once upon a time there was a Bishop Tucker of Uganda. He was an artist.How did he become a bishop?
One day he was painting a picture of a poor woman thinly clad, pressing a baby to her bosom, wandering homeless on a stormy night on a dark, deserted street. As the picture grew, the artist suddenly threw down his brush, exclaiming, “Instead of merely painting the lost, I will go out and save them.” And he went to Africa. He spent the rest of his life letting the Lord guide him one step at a time. He brought many into the Fold of Christ and taught them how to follow that light and become rich in heart and soul and to become a light for others.
I want to close with a story about the about the beginning of the Reformation.
‘There was a man by the name of Martin of Basle. He came to a knowledge of the Truth, but he was very afraid to make a public confession. So he wrote on a leaf of parchment, “Oh merciful Christ, I know that I know the Truth, Oh Holy Jesus. I acknowledge Thy sufferings for me. I love Thee! I love Thee! I love Thee!” Then, with this covenant he wrote in hand, he removed a stone from the wall of his chamber and hid it. It was not to be discovered for more than 200 years.
About the same time, Martin Luther found the Truth as it is in Christ. He said out loud in a public area, “My Lord had shown mercy to me before men, and I will show mercy to men before kings.” The world knows what followed. We’re all heard of Martin Luther but we have never heard of Martin of Basle. Why? They both wrote a covenant, but one put the covenant in a wall and the other lived it.
Let this example guide you and always remember Martin of Basle. We will never forget Martin Luther. He followed his Light and changed Christianity forever. You also have the Light. Even a small star shines in the darkness.
“It’s good to be a Christian and know it. It’s even better to be a Christian and show it.”
“Now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8
Let us pray:
Father, help us dedicate ourselves, our time, money, our efforts, all of our souls to the Spirit, the Light of Your Magnificence. Help each of us to dedicate this in our daily lives, sharing and helping others. Give us that abundant spiritual supply of health, wisdom, understanding ,love – all what is necessary to meet the needs of others and never making these the object for our personal material benefit – all for Your working through us and helping that Light of ours to shine brightly.
We are letting our light shine. In the name of Christ Jesus … Amen
Thank you, God.