The Luminaria Lighter or the Oblivious Boater?

You are the light of the world.

–Matthew 5:14–

Imagine you are setting up luminaria for Christmas Eve.  You have carefully positioned dozens of alternating red and green paper bags along your driveway and sidewalk, each bag containing a little sand and one candle.  Now the sun is down.  You have a lighter in your hand, and you go from one bag to another, lighting each candle in turn.  Picture it.  As you move along, you are literally leaving a trail of light behind you.

            Some people are like that.  They go through life with such a determination to make the world a more beautiful place that they leave a phosphorescent wake of joy wherever they go.

            Here is another image.  Imagine you are enjoying a peaceful walk along the bank of a river one sunny afternoon.  It is a quiet day, and suddenly, out of nowhere, a speedboat comes whizzing down the river.  As it surges forward, it leaves behind it an ever-expanding wake.  About half a minute after the boat passes, its wake is wide enough to reach the shore.  You look down at your feet, and, there in the water, you see a mother duck and her four ducklings tossed up and down in helpless confusion by the turbulence of the wake.

            Some people are like that.  They speed along through life in their self-centered pursuits, and they have no idea of the turmoil they leave in their wake.  They are clueless.

            Jesus says, “You are the light of the world.”  Our job, then, as Christians, is to fill the world with light—not our own light, but the light of Christ.  Furthermore, we must not be content with being mere conveyers of Christ’s light.  We must help to set others on fire with the love and joy of Jesus.

            The question is:  Whom do I most resemble—the luminaria lighter or the oblivious boater?  Mark Twain once said, “Some people bring joy wherever they go, and some people bring joy whenever they go.”  I might modify this somewhat by saying, “Some people bring joy wherever they go, and some people bring chaos wherever they go.”  Into which of the two categories do I fall?  The choice is mine!

            The choice lies, not so much in the wake I leave behind me as in the goal I have before me.  If I move toward Christ, the Light of the World, I will, almost without knowing it, leave His light wherever I go and set others on fire in the process.  If, however, I move toward Satan, the very personification of selfishness, I will, whether I know it or not, leave disorder in my wake.  Toward which goal am I moving?  Again, the choice is mine!