The little boy peered out the window into the night, then suddenly smiled. A lamplighter was climbing his ladder again next to their door. He lifted the globe, lit a flame, and then climbed down again. The boy turned to his parents, “Look! He’s punching holes in the darkness!” Years later Robert Louis Stevenson would write a poem about his experience.
What an incredible word picture to consider as we desire to shine the light of Christ with the people around us. Could it be that we also punch holes in dark places? Might we give people a chance to see the light of hope?
Believers “shine like stars in the universe as we hold out the word of life.” (Phil. 2:15, 16) How can we shine the light of Christ to the people around us this fall? What are practical steps to accomplish this?
Consider three characteristics of stars.
- Stars shine brightest when they are the closest.
- Stars shine brightest in the darkness.
- Stars shine brightest in clusters.
Stars shine brightest when they are the closest. Stop and consider who you are “closest” to. Your life, overflowing with Christ, illuminates those who are in close proximity to you. Consider these ideas as you reach out.
* Small gifts deliver a big message that we care. Try giving a small pumpkin or a goodie bag, or even gourmet popcorn from Costco. Dollar Tree sells treat bags; attach a note saying, “It’s a treat having you for a neighbor.”
* Offer to pick-up groceries, babysit or rake leaves as it is a tangible way to serve the community around you.
* Also sharing a meal welcomes neighbors into the warmth of Jesus’ love. Invite someone for Thanksgiving whose family is away.
The light of Christ in us shines brightest also when life is darkest. Our presence shows Jesus’ compassion like nothing else. Giving the gift of time remains key to neighbor ministry. Keep cards available to send handwritten notes in times of crisis such as divorce, illness or bereavement. Small gifts — “little happys” – can be candles or books we can give. It’s easier to avoid those in pain, but our commitment to reach out shows genuine love and brings incredible hope.
We can shine like the stars to our neighbors, in the darkness and also in clusters. We are “better together.” Ask God to bring a motivating friend as you “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Heb. 10:24). For more ideas on reaching out, check called to shine on Instagram.
What attitudes should we have when we interact with others?
Be available: Try to reserve margin in your schedule for unexpected invites or opportunities. Say “yes” when you can; don’t pack your time too tightly.
Be observant: Are they celebrating a birthday or milestone? Are your neighbors gifted at something you want to learn? Sewing, pottery, landscape? Learn what they like to do and ask them to help you in their areas of interest when possible. Do they travel and need help with pets, garbage or mail?
Be intentional: Take time to genuinely listen and care. As opportunity allows, share about your insights from devotional reading, or honestly share your own struggles with others.
We can all “punch holes in the darkness” by shining the light of Jesus in our words and actions.
View the 40-minute Let Your Light Shine video here.
Visit nbs2go.com to find the Called to Shine Challenge for November, leading through conversation.