Hey, y’all… how’s your mama and ‘em?
Last week I shared with y’all how God had revealed my word for 2019 through an unfortunate, yet humorous, experience I had during the holiday season with a glitter bath bomb I “borrowed” from my daughter. In case you missed reading it, the word was “Sparkle”.
Sparkly things draw the eye of most people. Some of my favorite memories from when my kids were little are of evenings spent catching lightening bugs and star gazing, and the many times when we were on long car trips, that I would intentionally maneuver my hand so that the sun would catch the diamonds on my wedding ring and reflect onto the roof of the car giving the illusion of pixie dust floating over our heads. Laughter and squeals would fill the vehicle as the kids tried to capture what looked like Tinkerbell. From the ordinary to the extraordinary, things that shine demand attention.
Last week we established that the light that shines from within us as Christians is not our own, but Christ’s. (See 2 Corinthians 4:7.) How brightly the light of Christ shines through us is directly proportional to the amount of time we spend in His presence. Psalm 16:11 from the NIV reads, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.” That joy produces the light of Christ that shines through us.
There is so much darkness in our world today. We have the power to change that. Former President George H.W. Bush famously said, “We can find meaning and reward by serving some higher purpose than ourselves, a shining purpose, the illumination of a thousand points of light.” President Bush believed that through acts of service each person had the capacity to be a point of light and that when we came together unified, we created a thousand points of light that could create positive change in our world. He later added that a life lived without service to others could not be counted as successful. In Galatians 5:13, we are instructed to serve one another in love. Shining means serving, and serving means getting down on the same level with those you come in contact with everyday. Matthew 20:28 reads, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” In our culture, we are taught that those who serve are on the bottom level of society. That is our misfortunate misunderstanding. Serving others isn’t just random acts of kindness, but rather deliberate acts of kindness. Serving others means preferring one another above ourselves. It means holding the door open for a stranger, seeing a need and meeting it, smiling at people, giving high fives or fist bumps to kids in the grocery store, being kind, complimenting one another, acknowledging one another. Serving others is summed up in the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.”
Darkness is powerful, and some people have lived in it for so long that they have developed a sensitivity to the light. As a result, they are offended by it. From the physical to the spiritual, this holds true. There are some people that will resent you for the light you shine. Basically put, the spirit in them is at war with the spirit within you. (And remember, the light in you is from Christ so it is not really you that they have a problem with!) This does not give us a reason to ignore, mistreat, or disengage from them. The only cure for prolonged darkness is continual exposure to the light. As believers, we must love the people who are most difficult to get along with as much as we love anyone else. It is the only way to bring them out of the darkness that they have become accustomed to living in.
Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle! Even for the most faithful, strongest Christian, life isn’t always unicorns and lollipops. Circumstances will happen in life that demand our time, resources, and energy leaving us feeling depleted. We feel as if though we are barely getting by ourselves – surely we cannot be of use to anyone else. Health, finances, and relationships have knocked us down and skinned our knees. During these times we have to remember who we are. We have to remind ourselves that we are children of the Most High, heirs with Jesus. We continue shining when life is hard because of the knowledge that the light is His – we are merely the “candle holder” so to speak. (We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 2 Corinthians 4:7 NLT)
After God began speaking to my heart about what it means to sparkle, I found an acronym online that gives it a more special meaning to me:
Jesus told us in Matthew 5:13,14, and 16 (NLT), “You are the salt of the earth….You are the light of the world…. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” May we all live our lives in such a way that through us, those on the outside, will see Him.
Have a blessed week, y’all!