“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
“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. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (NIV)
On a road trip from Kigoma to Mwanza in Tanzania, our car broke down. Despite some clear intervention from the Lord into our situation we had to spend the night at a local guest house. In a strange place, with no light and no candles provided, I could hardly see my hands in front of my face. I had a very old cell phone with a very poor flashlight attachment. Maybe because it was so dark, but when I turned on that almost useless flashlight, it seemed to light up the whole room. A little light in a dark place makes a big difference.
I’m not sure where I saw the proverb printed, but I have thought of it many times: “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” That is a proverb that I would like to be associated with – maybe I have some work yet to do?
Every day, and in so many places today, we can see and hear loud voices cursing the darkness. Anger and accusation are commonly accepted ways of speaking out, often with half-truths and even blatant lies.
What are Christ-followers to do in a time like this? We are called to light candles: offering words of encouragement; living out Jesus’ kind of meekness when manipulation and deception are often used to wield power godlessly; working to help others, advocating for them openly as well as serving quietly behind the scenes.
In the midst of all the chaos, I am reminded of people and Christian organizations that continue to work diligently and with much effort to help those affected by the lies and half-truths. Despite their own objections to what is happening they serve and serve well for the sake of Jesus’ kingdom.
Jesus, light of the world, let your light shine through us to break the hold of darkness. Amen.