The only light that can illuminate the darkness of a world lying in sin, must come from Christ; and this light is granted to all who will receive it. For, said the great Teacher, “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Those who receive the divine radiance are in turn to become light-bearers to the world. Thus our Saviour taught His disciples: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill can not be hid. … Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14, 16).
Religion is not to be held as a precious treasure, jealously hoarded, and enjoyed only by the possessor. True religion can not be thus held; for such a spirit is contrary to the very principle of the Gospel. “Freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8), are the words of our Master; and again He bids us, “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34). If Christ is dwelling in the heart, it is impossible to conceal the light of His presence; it is impossible for that light to grow dim. It will grow brighter and brighter, as day by day the mists of selfishness and sin that envelop the soul are dispelled by its bright beams.
The Need of Shining Lights
The world lies in darkness. All around us there are souls going down to ruin and death. As Christ sheds the light of His love upon His followers, they are to reflect this light upon others. God’s word declares that His children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light. The zeal and steadfastness of the lighthouse keeper, in his efforts to save men from destruction, put to shame the faith and devotion of many a professed Christian.
A story is told of the watchman at Calais lighthouse. He “was boasting of the brilliancy of his lantern, which can be seen ten leagues out at sea, when a visitor said to him:
“ ‘You speak with enthusiasm, sir, and that is well. I like to hear men tell what they are sure they have and know; but what if one of the lights should chance to go out?’
“ ‘Never, never! Absurd, impossible!’ replied the sensitive watchman, in consternation at the mere supposition of such a thing. ‘Why, sir,’ he continued, and pointed to the ocean, ‘yonder where nothing can be seen, there are ships going by to every port in the world. If, to-night, one of my burners were out, within six months would come a letter, perhaps from India, perhaps from Australia, perhaps from some port I never heard of before—a letter, saying that on such a night, at such an hour, at such a minute, the light at Calais burned low and dim; that the watchman neglected his post; that vessels were consequently put in jeopardy on the high seas. Ah, sir,’ and his face shone with the intensity of his thought, ‘sometimes, in the dark nights, and in the stormy weather, I look out upon the sea, and feel as if the eye of the whole world were looking at my light. Go out? Burn dim? That flame flicker low or fail? No, sir, never!’
Shine for Christ
“Shall Christians, shining for tempted sinners, allow their light to fail? Forever out upon life’s billowy sea, are souls we see not, strange sailors in the dark, passing by, struggling, it may be, amid the surges of temptation. Christ is the light, and the Christian is appointed to reflect the light. The ocean is vast, its dangers are many, and the eyes of far-away voyagers are turned toward the lighthouse—the church of Jesus Christ. The church is set to be the light of the world. Are its revolving lamps all trimmed and brightly burning?”
Think of this, professed Christians. A failure to let your light shine, a neglect to obtain heavenly wisdom that you may have light from God, may cause the loss of a soul. What is the life lost at sea, in comparison with the eternal life which may be lost through your unfaithfulness? Can you endure the thought? Can you go on from day to day indifferent and careless, as tho there were no God, no hereafter; as tho you were not Christ’s servant; as tho you had no blood-bought privileges? It is of the highest consequence that you stand at your post, like the faithful watchman, that your light may shine out before others. You should be so impressed with the importance of your work, that to the question, “What if your light should go out?” your whole soul would respond, “Never, never! For then souls would be lost!”
The Signs of the Times, May 24, 1910.