"You have to work hard to offend Christians. By nature, Christians are the most forgiving, understanding, and thoughtful group of people I've ever dealt with. They never assume the worst. They appreciate the importance of having different perspectives. They're slow to anger, quick to forgive, and almost never make rash judgments or act in anything less than a spirit of total love . . . No, wait--I'm thinking of Labrador retrievers!" David Learn, 1998

Sunday, May 29, 2011

We all get the same sized flashlight

by Malissa Kilpatrick
Used by permission

I sign up for this job. I am so excited to be part of the show. I actually get to be part of the big show! I got the job!

I line up with the other chosen. Some of us are handsome and smart. We are well dressed and well educated. Just the sort you would expect God to use. There are some others in the line. They are overweight and smelly. They don’t look too brilliant. Sort of the Walmart  crowd. I wonder what work they have been given? Cleaning the bathrooms at the show? Well, I will have an important part, anyway. I will be a shining star.

The guy at the door passes out flashlights--to everyone. They are flimsy silver Ever-ready flashlights with two rechargeable C batteries. They are the flashlights you get for free when you buy the batteries. Everyone gets the same size flashlights and careful instructions on how to keep them recharged. You know--all the spiritual disciplines: prayer, Bible Study, fellowship, fasting?

Inside the theater, it looks as if the whole world has gathered. That is, everyone not yet chosen for the job. And on the stage the show is going on--already going on, as it has been from the very beginning. The colors are incredible, the story line is rich, the movement is perfectly orchestrated.
And our job is simply to shine our light, our little flashlight, on the stage so the whole world can see the wonders of the show.

We turn on our lights. I shine my light on the stage. The people in the theater clap and make appreciative noises. Woo, this is great. My light is shining so brightly!

Later some of the better dressed shine their lights on one another. I shine my light over to see what they are admiring. Nice suit. Sometimes I get  bored holding my light on the stage. I want to see what the whole world of the audience is doing. Look at that! Some of the really dumb looking folks shine their lights all around, up on the ceiling, on the floor. Don’t they know what they were hired for? Here, I will shine my light on them to reveal to the stage manager what they are doing wrong. Here comes the stage manager. He will probably promote me to just show the others what they are doing wrong. I could be really good at that. I could be the supervisor of a whole division.

No, he says my job is just to keep shining on the stage. ‘Glorifying the Father’ is what he calls it. My job is to let my little light shine. He says that if I don’t keep shining my light the world cannot see the glory of the Father. Just as if  mine was the only light. Look at those other lights out there. Somebody else can do that. “Shine Shine Shine!”, he says.

OK. I will try to keep my light on this task. Look at those colors, listen to that story. Look at those stupid people. Well, some of them are shining where they are supposed to--even the Walmart crowd.  It does not take a lot of brains to just shine.

After all, we all get the same size flashlight.

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