Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Letter From Dan Dowd - June 19, 2020

Letter From Dan Dowd

June 19, 2020

Sabbath Thought - A Light to the World

There are many seemingly simple inventions that impact our lives in dramatic ways.  Imagine stopping the day's work once the sun went down because it was too involved or expensive to light our homes or offices after dark.  That was the case 100 years ago.  And yet, with the invention of the light bulb that no longer needs to be the case.  There are two factors that made the light bulb such a successful invention - it is relatively simple in construction, and is easy to use.  If the bulb is connected to a power source, you simply turn on the power.

Prior to one hundred years ago, light was generated by burning fats, oils, or wax.  Going back to the time of Jesus, the houses in Roman Palestine were very dark with only one little circular window perhaps not more than eighteen inches across.  The lamp was like a sauce-boat filled with oil with the wick floating in it. It was not so easy to rekindle a lamp in the days before matches existed.  Normally the lamp stood on the lampstand which would be no more than a roughly shaped branch of wood; but when people went out, for safety's sake, they took the lamp from its stand, and put it under an earthen bushel measure, so that it might burn without risk until they came back (Luke 8:16). 

The primary reason for the lamp was to be seen (Matthew 5:14-16). So, then, Christianity is something which is meant to be seen, and not just visible within the Church - it should be even more visible in the ordinary activities of the world.  A light can also be a guide. On the estuary of any river we may see the line of lights which marks the channel for the ships to sail in safety.  A light is something to make clear the way. So then a Christian must be an example of God's Way to others.  That is, a Christian must of necessity be an example.  The world needs its guiding lights; there are people waiting and longing for a leader to take the stand and to do the thing which they do not dare by themselves.

Christ gave us a perfect example of a light shining in the darkness of the world around us (John 1:1-9).  Sometimes Christ was quiet and observing (the widow's mite), sometimes He was filled with righteous anger (the Temple moneychangers), sometimes the healings were in private (the blind man in John 9) and sometimes they were done publicly (the resurrection of Lazarus, the healing on the Sabbath day).  In every case, however, His light showed righteousness in action.  Our light should be as Christ's was, in that we illuminate the way for people so they don't have to stumble through life.

Ultimately it is God and Christ flowing through us that gives us any light at all (Micah 7:8-9).  After Moses had been with God on Mt. Sinai for 40 days, his face shown so brightly that the people were frightened and he had to put a veil over his face (Exodus 34:29-35). He had in a sense absorbed light from God and was reflecting back that light from God.  We need to take advantage of every opportunity to absorb light from God and to reflect His light.  Our faces should be glowing with smiles of joy. More importantly, our hearts should be glowing with joy and renewed dedication weekly to God and His great work.  For us to be lights (Philippians 2:14-15), we must continually go to the source of light (James 4:8).

Although we have the Sabbath and the Holy Days as a refuge from the world around us, God intends that we be scattered amongst "the midst of a crooked and perverse generation" so we can "shine as lights in the world".  Our Christian calling requires that after we have received, we must give.  Light is not something that can be selfishly bottled up. It must flow through us and reach out to others through a good example and good works.

By walking in the light of God's Word, we set an example for others to encourage them. We all are brought closer to God and to one another.  We walk in the light by living by God's commandments and by repenting and changing when we fail to so.  Walking in the light means being a righteous example to the world around us.  Walking in the light means being consistent, it means being an example of simplicity in our approach and it means letting God flow through us to benefit others.  Walking in the light means to live up to the meaning of God's instruction so that we can truly be lights to the world.

I wish you a meaningful Sabbath,

Dan Dowd

19 June, 2020