So now that I'm living at the clinic, I cook with matches on a little gas stove. And my morning routine goes something like this: wake up to the sunshine, open up my phone and read something from my Bible reading plan, and then get out the matches so I can light a flame to start making tea. Did I mention I love tea so much?
But I have a confession to make: for the first 2 weeks living here at the clinic I struggled so much with lighting the gas stove with the matches. I didn't know why it was so difficult, but it would take anywhere from 2-5 matches for me to successfully light the gas and get the stove ready for my tea. Sometimes I would get so frustrated in the morning because I couldn't seem to start the gas stove easily (when really it was quite simple). Well just last week I realized why I was having a problem. The matches we had been using were old and the cardboard on the match box was already scratched off. Some of the matches had got wet and so they were having a hard time catching flame. Finally, we got some new matches from a friend- and it was amazing. I have never started a fire so easily in my life. Here all this time I had been working so hard, when really starting the fire had been so easy.
Which leads me to a verse I read this morning in the Word that says "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand, and it shineth unto all that are in the house. Even so let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14)
If you're a Pathfinder you also know many songs about being the light of the world like "Faith on Fire" and "It only takes a spark to get a fire going."
"Set my faith on fire… that's my one desire. Make my life a pure and holy flame. That the world can see there's a fire in me. Burning by the power of Jesus' name…. or even, the other classic.. "it only takes a spark to get a fire going."
And if you love Jesus, that should be our desire. To be the light, to be a flame, shining for the world to see.
But sometimes maybe you, like me, feel like you suck at it.
Sometimes even as a missionary, I feel like I fail at representing Jesus and like I don't know how to be light.
Sometimes I think we overcomplicate what it means to live brightly for Jesus. Maybe we think we don't have those spiritual gifts or abilities, maybe we think we're too flawed, or not good enough. Maybe we fear we're too dark to be a bright light, or we struggle with even our own personal faith being lit daily.. so we say how can we shine?
I want to tell you about a friend I have at the clinic who to me, is such an example, of being a bright light for Jesus. Her name is Ruth, she's a Protestant Christian, and she's a teacher who's married to a doctor. But the thing about this woman, is it's not what she says that makes her light up. Ruth has the most contagious laugh and biggest smile. Ruth is beautifully caring and un-relentlessly kind to everyone. Ruth takes her time to do things but when she's with you, you feel like you matter so much. Ruth is generous and she is always positive. When I hear her laugh even outside my room, I'm reminded of Jesus' love and I smile.
Ruth reminds me what it really means to be light again. She shows me that it's possible, that I don't have to be afraid.
They say the world is looking for light, looking for the beauty, looking for the love of Jesus.. yet so often it's not the preacher they look too, or the missionary, or even the counselor. The world is looking for people who know how to love, the world is looking for friends. The world is looking for genuine love, attention, kindness. I don't have to preach more, or plan the perfect devotional to lead or say, I just have to pay attention to the people around me. I have to choose to love them unselfishly.
And I have to think about that today: that it's great to witness to others, it's awesome (and necessary sometimes) to talk about Jesus. But if our faces could learn how to magnify Jesus' love and goodness, we could do so much while even saying so little. Lighting a fire should be easy. Spreading the flame should be simple. If we are plugging into Jesus' love, we don't have to over think the "hows" of evangelism, we just have to be love.