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So an overstressed employee needs a few days off work badly, but knows the boss won’t allow him the time. He thinks maybe if he acts ‘crazy’ the boss will let him go a few days. So he gets up on the desk, swings up on a beam in the ceiling, hangs upside-down, and starts to make funny noises.
His co-worker asks him what he’s doing. He tells him he’s pretending to be a light bulb so that the boss will think he’s ‘crazy’ and give him a few days off.
A few minutes later the boss comes into the office, sees him hanging there, and yells, “What in the name of all that’s good are you doing?” He tells him he’s a light bulb. The boss says, “You’re clearly stressed out. Go home and recuperate for a couple of days.” He jumps down and walks out of the office.
The co-worker gets up out of his chair and starts to walk out also. The boss yells at him, “Hey, where do you think you’re going?” “I’m going home, too,” he says. “I can’t work in the dark.”
What kind of lights did Noah have on the Ark? Flood lights, of course.
How you live sends a message to those around you. People are watching how you live, how you respond to adversity. Are you kind? That’s the best witness.
Your life is your message.
Scripture says we have the power to be witnesses. When people see you living a life of patience, forbearance, integrity, and kindness they will believe and may even be changed.
When people see us setting a bad example, this overrides what we say. You can’t tell your kids to do right if you’re doing wrong. Most people aren’t reading their bibles; their reading your life.
We come to church to get recharged but our real assignment begins when we leave here. We should be the kind of people that when we ask someone to come and check out our church, they will be truly interested in seeing it. They will want to see what we have and what we like.
A young girl was playing with flashlight on a bright sunny day. She turned it on and off, and could see the light bulb was on but nothing was coming out. It seemed like it wasn’t working because she couldn’t see the light. It was made to work in the dark, not the light.
I want to share a video clip with you from the movie Freedom Writers. In it, Miep Gies, one of the Dutch citizens who hid Anne Frank, tells her story of the day when the Gestapo took Anne.
If we always fall to the lowest common denominator of the behavior of those around us, we put out our light. Don’t let darkness dim your candle. Don’t let bad spirited people extinguish your spirit.
We may complain we don’t like this job, or our classmates or the neighbors, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a reason to be there. Just because others are sabotaging things or setting up bad dynamics doesn’t mean you can’t shine your light.
When you hear people complaining don’t join in. Turn it around and express gratitude, and say why the situation isn’t as bad as they think. You are the light of the world; don’t add to the darkness.
We can be a thermometer, reading the temperature of the room, or we can be thermostats, setting the temperature.
Be joyful in the good times, at peace in the tough times. God’s counting on you to brighten things up. Do the right thing even when the wrong things happen. The world needs your light.
Don’t let negative people get to you. People push buttons to get a certain response. Turn your buttons off. Keep being kind and respectful. After all, scripture says these are marks of love: “Love is patient, love is kind… love is not rude…. It is not irritable or resentful.” Love is light that never fails.
King Saul was jealous of David. One day, he threw a spear at David but missed. David never complained about Saul. He kept doing the right thing.
One night while on the run he saw Saul asleep unprotected. He could’ve killed him but he didn’t. He said “God, I won’t touch the king, your anointed, I’ll let you fight my battles.” David let his actions do the talking.
People don’t change overnight. Saul chased David a long time but David stayed on the high road. Eventually Saul died in battle and David became king.
There may be people that are difficult a long time, but light wins out over darkness. God can brighten up any life with the light of his love.
Jesus didn’t spend all his time in synagogues and safe places. He went to the people that weren’t on the right track. Jesus let his light shine in all places. He showed mercy and was kind.
The religious people didn’t like it. Too often “religious” people are like that.
To represent God and goodness you don’t have to be tough, you don’t have to be bossy, or mean, willing to take people down who are doing wrong. The opposite is true. Don’t be a fire hose, be a sprinkler.
Let people see your good works. Let them save face. Show them by example rather than demand them to become better. It doesn’t really work anyway.
The truth is most people already know what they’re doing wrong. Our job is to love people.
I know a pastor who went to a restaurant frequently for lunch. His customary waitress was a young woman, “a good person with issues.” She struggled with addictions. She was uncomfortable with him being a minister. She thought he would judge her.
But he was kind and friendly and she was relieved. He noticed she liked a certain kind of coffee. He brought her the coffee on several occasions. At Christmas time he bought a gift for her son.
After that, she asked where his church was. She and her boyfriend came to his church, kept coming, became members and changed their lives. The pastor ended up marrying them.
His light had true kindness and love at its core. It changed their world forever.
We all have a ministry. 2 Corinthians 5:18 says we have a ministry of reconciliation, not of disruption. The truth is people can’t see God—they see us.
There are enough people in the world tearing things apart. Don’t add yourself to that list. Keep faith with the light. Hold on to the power of God’s love, even in small ways and little moments.
Several years ago I went through the drive through at a fast food restaurant. Ordered my food but the server kept getting the order wrong. It was frustrating, but I was patient as we went through the order several times to get everything correct.
When I pulled up the window I recognized the girl. She was a high schooler and in our church. She said, “Hi, Pastor Tom!” You never know who is watching.
Jesus said let your light shine before others so they may see your good works. Your life is sending out a message. Kindness, patience, joy, peace, respect, integrity speak of Christ’s kingdom.
We all have people we could complain about. But don’t. If we complain and get mad over them, then we won’t be ready to help them when they need it and be able to transform the situation.
Instead get even by praying for the people in your life who make your light flicker. Pray for yourself to keep your light shining. Think about how you might make things work out. Pray for patience and a better path to take. This way, the darker the situation, the brighter your light will shine.
Your light is your message. And your light has to shine on you as well. Keep yourself wrapped in light. Keep up your faith in the Lord to turn things positive. If you’ll shine brightly you’ll continue to increase in favor and wisdom, grace and joy.
God can brighten up any life with the light of his love. Let us let the light out into our world.
Can the church say Amen?