One evening when the English essayist and author John Ruskin was a little boy, he was sitting at the window of his home watching the lamplighter progressively work his way up a hill lighting the street lamps. Poking his finger at the window pane to make a point, the little lad suddenly exclaimed, “Look! He’s punching holes in the darkness.”
John Ruskin described precisely the mission of every Christian: Punching holes in the darkness. At the recent conference I asked, “How many of you work in a place where you are the only Christian?” Most people raised their hands. Then I asked, “How many of you would prefer working where there are many who are believers just like you?” The vast majority who raised their hands to the first question also raised them in response to the second question as well.
Is it possible, friend, that God put you exactly where you are because He wants you to punch holes in the darkness? “You are the light of the world,” Jesus said. “A city 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 men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
“But I’m the only Christian where I work, and people make fun of me!” Have you forgotten the least amount of light drives away the greatest amount of darkness? Perhaps that is exactly why God put you where you are. He planted you there so that you could be a witness against the darkness.
Years ago I visited Carlsbad Caverns, a huge cave underground so deep that when the lights are turned out, a person absolutely cannot see his hand in front of his face. While I was there, the park ranger told us that they were turning out the lights, and then in a moment, he struck a match—only one. I will never forget how very quickly that one single match allowed us to see very clearly.
Sure, everybody would like to live in an environment where people love righteousness and everybody loves each other. That kind of workplace is reserved for heaven. In the meanwhile, God wants you to be the kind of a light which punches holes in the darkness of broken homes and hearts.
There are two ways that you are a light in a dark world: 1. Through your visual witness, and 2. through your verbal witness. For a moment, think about the impact of your life, which may be far greater than you have any idea.
First, you don’t have to wear a sandwich board or a T-shirt with a religious motif for people to know that you are a Christian. They know! You have a different sense of value. Off-color jokes just aren’t funny. You work hard, and you don’t make suggestive comments about the opposite sex.
When Jesus talked about “a city on a hill,” He was probably using as an illustration the city we know as Safad today. The disciples had often seen the lights from the ancient city which could be seen from long distances. It couldn’t be hidden.
Then your verbal witness—what you say and perhaps what you don’t say—also drives away the darkness. A friend of mine who worked in an auto parts store found Christ and gradually his language was changed. Another employee, not remembering his name, referred to him as, “That guy, the one at the parts counter who stopped cursing.” Thank God you, too, can punch holes in the darkness.
Resource Reading: Matthew 5:13-20
Text: You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14
GUIDELINES with Harold Sala – May 15, 2017