Children of Light
“Children of Light”
Luke 10:26-28 & Ephesians 5:8-14
I’ve been called a lot of different things – by a lot of different people. Hardheaded, stubborn… opinionated, for sure (and most of that was from my wife!).
I hope and pray… that a few people might be kind enough to describe me as friendly… maybe compassionate… maybe even faithful. We sometimes put a lot of “stock” in what other people think of us… what they call us. Our words certainly have the power to encourage or discourage; to hurt or to heal…
Of course, sometimes pronouns are used to describe us… father, son, husband, pastor, friend… Christian.
What about you? How do others describe you? Or better yet… how would you describe yourself?
It’s a fact of life to live with labels, I suppose… we all do! Sometimes they’re accurate… other times they’re flat wrong…
But what’s most important, is for each of us, as children of God, is to understand how God defines us…
Of course, God’s Word defines God’s People in lots of ways… we’re called the “apple of his eye” - and those who are faithful are called “trees planted by the water.” We’re called servants, co-laborers, disciples, a priesthood… among many other things!
But, one of the most eye-catching and surprising things God’s Word calls us… as followers of Christ… is light! That’s a strange description, for sure!
It would be one thing if our scripture said that we should simply shine the light (which of course, we should), or that we should somehow become a light. But that’s not what it says… it says that you and I ARE, in fact, light.
We have no problem with thinking of Jesus as the light! He certainly is the light of the world! We get that! It’s also wholly agreeable to accept that God’s Word is a “lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path.”
But as followers of Christ, you and I are light, too.
Think about that for just a moment. Light changes things, doesn’t it? Light helps things grow. It offers warmth and comfort. By simply flipping a switch, we can change the dynamics of a room, with simple light.
Some experts even tell us that light can be used to kill viruses… like COVID-19…
In other words, light is beneficial. It’s needed. And it’s useful, and effective in making the world different… better even!
So… by calling us “light” - it’s God’s way of reminding us of how radically different his love, mercy and grace… his redemption… and justification… and sanctification… make us! We were once darkness… but now… in Christ… you and I are light!
And that’s a mighty tall honor and even greater responsibility. I’ll be the first to admit. It’s a responsibility I fail to live up to all the time…
But the world needs us to live into that responsibility… right now. The world needs you and me to be the light Christ has created us to be. The world needs to hear the Good News that expels darkness. The world needs to know the hope that we’ve found, in Christ, and in Christ alone. The world needs us to shine the truth… the blinding, yet loving light of truth… that this world is fallen and broken and confusing and chaotic… and… in need of a Savior. This world needs us. This world… our world… needs light.
During this time of distress and dis-ease… how are you & I being the light that God has created us… and has chosen us… to be?
Paul said, "for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth." If light is goodness, righteousness, and truth, then to be light we need to know what "goodness, righteousness and truth" are. That is why the very next thing Paul says to us… is "find out what pleases the Lord"
That may be a strange thing to hear when the world seems to be falling apart around us. Over the span of just a couple of weeks… we’ve watched the stock market collapse… we’ve seen grocery store shelves empty… we’ve watched as schools have closed, and gatherings were cancelled. People have lost their incomes and means of support. The world is crazy at the moment… racked by fear, confusion and disbelief. And in the midst of it all…
Jesus says to you and me… his followers… to love the Lord your God with all you heart, mind, soul and strength… and to love your neighbor as yourself.
Loving God requires loving your neighbor! That’s what pleases God… and it’s how you and I reveal the light Christ has called us to be.
It doesn’t have to be anything grand… you don’t have to move into the slums of Calcutta, or take a vow of poverty, for heaven’s sake!
But loving God and neighbor – being the light – does require us to do something. Maybe simply sending a note, a text message… making a phone call, to someone who’s lonely or alone right now, would be enough! It would certainly be a start! You don’t have to know someone very well to care about them, to and check on them!
Be the light! Introduce yourself! Take the initiative! Take the chance to get-to-know your brothers and sisters in Christ!
Maybe… you could check on your elderly neighbor. “Social Distancing” doesn’t mean living in 100% seclusion – it means using common sense. Checking on your neighbor is okay! And if that’s the good God brings from all this chaos and confusion and fear… if we’re ultimately a little closer, a touch better connected… a little more caring, a little more faithful… that will make all the temporary inconveniences worth it!
Be the light! Be the love of God! Be goodness, righteousness and truth! I can certainly think of worse things to be labeled. Amen.