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Monday, 11 July 2016

Solar-powered lighting!

The French-speaking Fellowship in Bergerac, of which my wife and I are members hold, from April to September (or thereabouts!), a monthly bi-lingual worship service with everything translated, and the songs sung in a combination of French and English.  The July service was held yesterday. Although not the main speaker, one of our English friends who is married to a Frenchman - and whose French language skills are considerably better than average - was translating the early part of the service into English.  At least, that's what I thought was happening!  The pastor would say something in French, and she would provide an English-language translation.

Then I realised that the roles appeared to have changed!  Suddenly, she was sharing in English, and the pastor was translating into French!  It was an excellent message and I want to now share it - with my own additional thoughts!

It was based on solar-powered garden lamps that she and her husband had purchased - and, she confided, they were no the most expensive ones!  Indeed, she wasn't certain that they would work for long at all - but had, happily, been proved to be wrong in her expectation!  As she pointed out, there are a number of lessons that disciples of Jesus may learn from those little lamps.  Let's think of a few.

Solar-powered lamps only work if they have been exposed to the light.  This is what is used to charge their batteries.  No light in; no light out!  The disciple of Jesus needs to be constantly walking "in the light".  "... Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."  (John 8:12).  It is as I spend time in His light, that I am able generate light that may help others.

Lamps don't have to be expensive to operate successfully.  My friend had been perfectly candid about the low cost of her lamps - and her concern that they would not function satisfactorily.  She was, to her relief, proved wrong!   Sometimes, I suspect, we think that one requires to have been walking with the Lord for many years; or have a certain level of theological education; or hold a particular position in society; in order to be of any real use to the Saviour.  Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth.  As used to be said, He is not as interested in our ability as in our availability!  If He calls me to a particular task, then I may be assured that He will equip me to complete it.

Being inexpensive lamps, the ones in question stayed lit for as long as there was power in the battery. They didn't have an "on-off" switch!  As a disciple of Jesus, I have to ask myself if the same thing is true of me?  Am I always "switched on" for Him?  Or are there days when I don't even attempt to shine?  We sung the Graham Kendrick song "Shine, Jesus, shine" at yesterday's worship service - but I wonder if He sometimes has to shout: "Shine, Brian, shine!"  

I don't know exactly how many lamps my friends purchased, but I do know that, regardless of how dark the night, just one little lamp will dispel that darkness.  John writes: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1:1-5).  As a disciple of Jesus, I should bring light into even the darkest of situations and circumstances!

A final thought - for which there isn't really a direct connection to the lamps.  Jesus said, "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father Who is in heaven." (Matt 5:14-16). Even when I do shine for Jesus, it is not in order that I may receive pats on the back, and be told what a fine disciple I am.  I am called to let the light of Jesus shine through me, that others may see more and more of Him in me - and that they may glorify God for His beneficence.

So, how is your light right now?  I hope that it is shining - every day of the week, and in every way possible.


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