As the powers that be continue their efforts to phase out the 60-100 watt incandescent light bulb, Phillips has released it’s latest award winning LED light-bulb, the Philips 10A19/LPRIZE-PRO/2700-900 DIM 10/1 – 420224 – 42022-4 (affiliate link). The switch to LED bulbs, over the ancient technology of the incandescent bulb, will potentially save the US hundreds of millions of dollars (add Dr. Evil voice here) in energy savings per year.
The problem with most LED light bulbs is they don’t convey the same “warm” feel that incandescent bulbs do, so many people have been reluctant to move toward the energy saving LED bulbs. I’m not advocating wasting energy—I’m just sayin’.
Of course, this made me start thinking about Jesus words from the sermon on the mount where he teaches the crowd that they are “the light of the world”, and how their light(s) shouldn’t be hidden, but put in a place for all to see.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 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. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
This verse challenges me to think about all the different types of lighting, and how as followers of Jesus, at different times in our lives, we have been given the responsibilities and roles of different types of lighting.
At times, as Jesus followers, we are called to be “spotlights.” A spotlight is used to point out wrongs and injustices around the world and down the street. This has been done well by organizations like IJM, but with the wrong methods and motivation it can also be done poorly by Christians who attempt to “expose” others. We have all seen, or read about, people who end up burning people, in the name of Jesus, with the spotlight—instead of trying to bringing light and healing into dark spaces. This is a matter of motivation, right? Is my motivation to bring about change and healing or is to bust people for the sake of the law?
The Warning Light
At times in my ministry I have been the “warning light”, like a lighthouse, where I am trying to warn people against some of the poor decisions that I, or people that I know, have made. The warning light attempts to warn others, in love, not to make the same mistakes that I have.
Sometimes my light is used as “directional lighting.” Directional lighting is where I am able to use my gifts as a teacher and communicator to help people see what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus in real life. We have all been given the privilege, in humility, to direct people toward the grace of the cross.
However, my favorite type of light is the incandescent bulb—slightly inefficient and yet warm and personal. You usually find these bulbs in living spaces (life lighting) and around tables built for conversation. Building relationships with people uses a lot of energy, and you never know how people are going to respond to that investment. All of us have invested in people who have “moved on” or taken advantage of that investment, but I would rather be that welcoming and mildly inefficient warm bulb than to emit the cold impersonal energy of the florescent light. (I’m not sure if florescent lighting has any redeeming qualities at all?)
The key to the imagery of the light is found at the end of verse 16.
“…that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Our light, whatever type it is, is designed to glorify God!
What other types of lighting have I missed? Be creative. What type of lighting do you like the most? Have you moved to the LED lights? Are you, or anyone you know, hording incandescent bulbs?