Mountains or beach? Most of us develop an intense preference for one or the other early on. I enjoy going to the mountains, but the beach ALWAYS blesses my soul. The smell of salt air mixed with sunscreen and the taste of freshly grilled fish (or steak at Big Mike’s Steakhouse) paints my face with a big wide grin. I bask in the constant breeze cooling my skin, the intense rays of the sun, and moonlight glimmering across the ocean at the end of the day.
I’m also fond of early morning walks with my fella. Our last beach trip placed us near the Perdido Pass Bridge in Orange Beach. Several mornings we let our walk take us across that bridge. If you’ve ever been there, you’ve seen the glorious view from the top of the bridge. To our right, we watched fishing boats motoring their way toward open water hoping for a grand catch. To our left lay the bay. In my opinion, the ocean view usually wins the prize for Most Captivating. However, this time it was the bay’s turn. There, nestled between two slivers of land, it seemed as though God had melted a mirror and carefully poured it into the land’s crevice. The shimmering water glistened brilliantly as it reflected the sun’s rays. Light from the sun along with the reflection from the water lit up the entire bay area. It was a morning to remember.
This coming Sunday marks my 50th year as a Christian. At 13, I knew I needed saving. I understood that Jesus was the only One powerful enough to do that. More than anything, I wanted to be the light. After all, Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “You are the light of the world – like on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:14-16, NLT) Eventually, I learned I was incapable of lighting my own lamp, much less anyone else’s, no matter how many matches I struck. What I failed to realize early on was that only our Creator and source of Light qualifies as an effective Lamplighter!
For well over half of my last 50 years, I worked and strived to be the sun for others. I thought their choices and decisions depended on how well I taught them. Today, I realize that none of us were meant to be the sun itself. Our job is to be the moon.
Good deeds merely reflect the love, peace, and joy we’ve received from Jesus – the true Light of the World. We can check our hearts by asking, “Am I doing this act of kindness, giving this gift, or offering these kind words so others will think more highly of me or more highly of Jesus?”
Foolish pride insists that WE be the source of light for others. Humility allows us to simply reflect HIS light. By staying close to Jesus, we absorb His light so that we reflect Him more effectively. Jesus reminds us in John 8, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12, NIV)
Everyone we know has a glittering ocean of temptations that can easily catch their eye. Many of them also have a bay full of deep crevices filled with hurt and pain. What would happen if we let God melt our hearts, infuse us with more of His light, and then displace all the hurt and pain by pouring us into those crevices? Might the reflections of you and me give them motivation to let Jesus captivate their hearts?
Good deeds done quietly (maybe even secretly) in Jesus’ name offer those in your world magnificent moments to remember.