BE THE LIGHT OR BE IN THE LIMELIGHT?

Jesus told His disciples that they were the salt and light of the world. The similarity between salt and light is that both create an impact, wherever they are placed, but become inconsequential in so doing. They have to lose themselves in order to cause any difference to their surroundings.

Salt is well-defined in substance and is felt rather than seen or identified as such. It is often quite easy to comprehend being the salt of the earth, for its role is well-defined and its boundary marked.

To be the light, however, needs a clear understanding of purpose, priority and pose. The purpose of light is not to draw attention to itself, but to bring in to sharp relief what is hidden in the shadows. The priority of light is to shed its illumination so that what is not seen becomes uncovered and exposed. The pose of light is to dispel darkness and impart comfort in visibility.

The issue in being the light is that we often confuse it with being in the limelight. Most often it is construed that to fulfil the role of being a light, one needs to have exposure and elevation. We think that when Jesus said that no one lights a lamp and puts it under the bed, but on a lampstand, it means being placed in a position of prominence. We assume that when He said that a city in a hill cannot be hid, that advancement is needed for influence. We decide that to be a force to create a ripple, one must be placed in positions and posts of visibility.

The good news is that to be the light one doesn’t need authority or power or control. Light, by its very nature, will alter its surroundings and empower all around. So also in this dark world, you don’t need special recognition or position, because being the light talks about conduct not position. Jesus said Let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven.

Being the light is to draw attention to God and elevate Him so others can reach the safety of His presence. All you need to do is just shine in the darkness so that others can see and be helped.

Light is basically energy that will do a work, viz. destroy darkness, irrespective of where it is found or placed. Coupled with the sense of sight, light is a primary tool for perceiving the world and communicating within it. A tool will serve its purpose for whatever it is created to do, irrespective of its circumstances.

Light can be ensconced in a humble lantern or beam out of a mighty lighthouse, yet however and wherever it is placed it will cause a change in it’s surroundings. So also it doesn’t matter who you are and where you are placed. Just be the light and do the work of light – clear out darkness.

Light, like salt, has to disperse itself into the medium to accomplish its work and fulfil its task. So also be willing to be unknown as you actively fulfil God’s mandate in life. The One Who created you acknowledges and appreciates you being the light. Those around you know the role you play in their lives and will appreciate and thank God for you.

Do not fret that you are not in the limelight, for you are in good company. The stalwarts of faith, Elijah, John the Baptist, Simeon, Anna, Ananias who baptized Paul, etc were all people who had no visibility or position. Yet God saw them and recognized them in His graces.

The greatest example of light, Jesus Christ, lived unknown for thirty years in the quietness of a middle eastern hamlet. He Who came to be the Savior of the world and the greatest Man to live on planet earth, lived in obscurity and invisibility for about 80% of his life.

If you are one who lives a hidden life, unknown and unsung, remember you are in good company – in the company of the Son of God!

Continue to be the light without worrying or fretting that you are not in the limelight!

Being the light is not synonymous with being in the limelight!

*Pic courtesy unsplash.com and google images

BEING & BECOMING THE SALT OF THE EARTH

Jesus told his disciples that they were salt and light of the world.

The similarity between salt and light is that both create an impact, wherever they are placed.

They both diffuse and disperse themselves into the medium they are placed to add (flavour and illumination) to their surroundings. Both dispel something (tastelessness and darkness) through their influence on the environment. Both do not draw attention to themselves, but are known by the effect they create, viz. taste and sight.

The difference between them is that salt needs to melt away into oblivion, its substance never evident but felt. Light, on the other hand, needs to be lifted up to be evident to all, if it is to bring sight and comfort all around.

Salt has the ability to combine everything together into a cohesive whole, while light by nature separates everything into two different entities.

Jesus said that if salt loses its saltiness (its nature) it is only fit to be thrown in the dunghill because it has lost its ability and nature to cause change.

Similarly, He said that a lamp is not lighted to be put under a bowl (covering), but is kept on a stand to be true to its nature (to illuminate). In other words, light becomes useless when it is not placed in a position from where it can be seen.

For a lamp to be in placed on a stand means to be placed in a position that will facilitate and help it do its work, viz. to illuminate and make bright. Only if the way is made for its brightness to be seen can light dispel darkness and bring into sharp relief the things that are hidden.

In our walk with Christ, there are different seasons in life wherein we alternate as salt and light. There will be times when we are hidden away with no one even being aware of us. We will be doing our work and influencing others in quietness, without publicity or fanfare. It is easy to be light, to be seen and acknowledged, but hard to be salt, unknown and unsung!

Salt purifies and preserves, but in so doing, has to lose itself. To be salt is to be felt and often not known or acknowledged. You will be needed but not maybe appreciated or thanked, just taken for granted. No one places or levate to a place of prominence, though it is valued and stored as being essential to life.

So also you maybe taken for granted or unacknowledged, but take heart. Do not fret at such times, just continue doing what you do, for Heaven sees what you do, even if men do not or acknowledge not!

You are in good company for many of the prophets began in hiding before they were know. John the Baptist was n the wilderness many years before he came on the scene. Elijah suddenly appears on the national scene to confront the king. family, before being recognized and anointed as King by Samuel, lived in quietness with the sheep, the youngest and considered the most insignificant of his family. We have no idea of the depth and background of Ananias who anointed Saul (who later became Paul) and yet he had the privilege of bringing healing to one of the great apostles of all times, the Apostle of the Gentiles!

Jesus Himself was unknown until He was baptized in the Jordan and was identified as the Lamb of God by John the Baptist. Thirty years He lived in obscurity, without doing doing a miracle, preaching a sermon or having any followers. In fact, His brothers did not acknowledge or accept Him His ministry and He was rejected by His own townsmen.

Yet Heaven noted His progress and watched over His growth. The Bible says He grew in stature, gaining face with God and man. He did not walk in arrogance as Son of God, but humbly behaved as Son of Man, learning the lessons God put Him through, fighting His battles over sin in secret, ‘learning obedience by the things He suffered’ and was shaped as the perfect vessel that brought salvation to all in the fires of loneliness and in the crucible of affliction.

If you are one who is hidden and unknown, do not fret but take courage. You are known and your worth is recognised not on earth by in heaven and by heaven.

If you are in a season of obscurity, seemingly forgotten, placed on the shelf and hidden away, do not lose heart. Many a prophet was formed and forged in the backside of the desert before brought into the open, like Moses.

Strengthen yourself with the realization that God knows our address and is privy to all we go through in secret. He is aware of our tears and bottles them up as precious.

Remember certain flowers open only in the night and are often ignored, though the perfume the night with their pleasant scent. They bloom and bless wherever they are because that’s the place and time ordained for them by their Creator!

If you are in the season of being salt, rest secure in the thought that God knows where you and what you do. He understands and appreciates who you are, considering who you are and what you do precious.

Be the salt of the earth, influencing the world around, in quiet confidence and gentle blessedness!

*Pic from unsplash.com and google images

WHAT’S GOING ON!

There’s a wind of pestilence sweeping over the land,
Let’s battle against it by getting on our knees.

There’s a shadow of stygian darkness covering the land,
Let’s dispel it by lighting lamps of gospel righteousness.

There’s a flood of destruction overflowing the land,
Let’s stem it by constructing dams and dykes of protection.

There’s a conspiracy to overthrow the age-old paths of decency,
Let’s band together to return what is sensible and true.

There’s a move of the enemy and alien over the land,
Let’s war against them by storming the gates of hell.

There is the work of the Holy Spirit stealing through the land,
Let’s partner together with Him to retrieve and restore the lost!
            @Sabina Tagore Immanuel

*Pic courtesy unsplash.com

CHRISTMESSY

My daughter, who is good at play writing, writes, directs and stages, along with her husband, a play for her church’s Christmas celebration every year. This year the title of the play was Christmessy and it portrayed how everything was truly a mess on that first Christmas.

Confusion reigned right from the very way Jesus was conceived (virgin birth), the confusion census that forced his parents travel to Bethlehem, the lack of accommodation there that made a stable his birthplace, the sudden appearance of supernatural beings to simple shepherds, the arrival of wise men from the east led by a star, the mayhem caused by Herod in his bid to kill a child who he feared would someday usurp his throne and to the resulting flight to Egypt.

You would think that when God sent His Son into the world as a baby, things would be in order and everything would go smoothly. Yet it was not so! The play’s concluding message was that God dramatically stepped into this world and invaded time to be part of a world that was not perfect, but in fact, quite messy!

The world we live in, as the world then was, is a mess. Just watch the news or read the daily paper or talk to someone. You would know that people, relationships, nations, events, nature and happenings all getting more and more topsy-turvy and muddled. There are no clear-cut guidelines or guardrails or reference points. There is tremendous chaos and confusion, with the life getting messier and messier.

Yet God chose to walk into the mess of old on that Christmas day as the Messiah, the One Who would deliver from all distress and disorder, both inward and outward. He did not come into a world of harmony and order, even though he created it to be so, but he came to bring restore order and work His creative miracle once again. He came the message of good tidings of great joy that He was giving us a second chance.

Today also, He is calling out to those who feel helplessly entangled in Cimmerian shadows to come to the light of His love and grace. Just as in the beginning when He sent light into the cosmic darkness and ruin, God sent His Son as the only true Light to dispel the Stygian blackness of sin and sickness of this world.

He, the babe born on that eventful day 2000 years ago, died on behalf of all mankind to pay the price for their freedom. He has given all the call to trust and believe in His sacrifice for sins. He stretches out His hand to all who are weary of the mess in their life or the mess they have made of their life. He is inviting each and everyone to become His child and live life under His care

He is coming back to be united with His family and be with them forever. He is coming back to bless all who follow Him with long life. He is coming back to judge the darkness for destroying the most beloved of His creation.

It is up to us to lean forward and grasp His hand to he raised from murky to stand stable on the rock. It is our choice to move from darkness to light, from bondage to freedom and from death to life everlasting.

Christmas is not about tinsel and tree, gifts and galas, turkey and biriyani, cakes and parties, etc. It is about God stepping into our mess, picking us from our messed up state and making us clean and free of that mess, forever!

*Pics courtesy unsplash.com

LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS

Circles of light illuminating the way,
Haloes that keep the darkness at bay.
Crowns of white against the black canvas,
Patches that paint a pretty picture enchanting us.

Narrow buildings that border the walkway,
Guards that stand silent sentinel night and day.
Streaming light from windows making the path bright,
Spilling over passers-by giving them clear sight.

Inky sky above provides a limiting frame,
Irradiated earth below expands the motion game.
Capture the picture to store it in your brain,
Call this beauty back to mind when you’re down with strain!

Sabina Tagore Immanuel

*Friday Fictioneers is talented group of enthusiasts penning down a story, a poem, a prose, etc., expressing their heart about a photo prompt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

*FF family, sorry for being away for some time. Been busy aligning myself to the changes in life and family. Hope to be more regular!

LIGHT-CENTERED

Shobha, look, beautiful it is!
Yeah Sulekha! There’s a sense of homecoming and peace that’s almost visible!
Don’t forget the light! It sort of draws attention with its brilliance!
Of course! Reminds me of two things.
What two things?
Newman’s words that became a favorite comforting hymn. Guess it?
Of course. Lead Kindly Light!
Yes and the other is Portia’s speech in Merchant of Venice.
The quality of mercy discourse?
Nope, the one about a candle when she returns home.
Hmmm , I remember it! She compares the light of candle and that of the moon!
Right. I never forgot it!

*In 1833, the young theologian and Anglican vicar John Henry Newman (1801-90) was traveling in the Mediterranean when he was struck down by a fever that nearly killed him. ‘My servant thought I was dying and begged for my last directions,’ he recalled in his autobiography. ‘I gave them as he wished, but I said, “I shall not die, for I have not sinned against light.”‘ Newman recovered slowly, but felt desperately homesick. On the way back to England, he took an orange boat from Palermo to Marseilles which was becalmed in the Straits of Bonifacio. Thus stranded, in an exhausted and emotional state, Newman was impelled to write this verse as a meditative poem called ‘The Pillar of the Cloud’, expressive of his longing for consoling Christian certainties in an age of mounting doubt.
*PORTIA: That light we see is burning in my hall.
How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
NERISSA: When the moon shone, we did not see the candle.
PORTIA: So doth the greater glory dim the less:
A substitute shines brightly as a king
Until a king be by, and then his state
Empties itself, as doth an inland brook
Into the main of waters. Music! hark! (MERCHANT OF VENICE ACT 5 SCENE 1)
*Friday Fictioneers is talented group of enthusiasts penning down a story, a poem, a prose, etc., expressing their heart about a photo prompt, every week. Thanks for this week’s photo prompt ©Dale Rogerson