Have you ever seen a picture of the Earth from space … at night? You don't see land and sea, you see civilization. Pinpoints of light where mankind is living, with electric light. Bright splashes of light for cities, sprinkles of light along the coast and up the fertile valleys, and great swathes of darkness on the oceans, deserts and mountains. It is beautiful and fascinating to look at.
Credit: C. Mayhew & R. Simmon (NASA/GSFC), NOAA/NGDC, DMSP Digital Archive
With modern technology it is possible to zoom in to different parts of the map, and you can identify your part of the world and even your city or district, and see where the lights are.
But what if there was a map of the light of the gospel in the Earth? Where would the lights be then? And when we zoomed in, where would we find a flickering flame and where a strong, bright light? I bet there would be some surprises.
Would you be happy to zoom in to your town or city, to your district? How bright would the light be there? Would the light from your church be as bright as you expect? Would the light from your home shine bright enough to be seen by others? Would you find Christians among your neighbours, that you didn't know about? Would your neighbours be surprised to find out about you?
Kevin John, a well-known figure in Swansea, spoke recently about his passion for Swansea football team, and his delight that they have won a place in the Premiership. Everyone he meets knows how he feels, and lots of people in Swansea feel the same. The new football kit and other items with the 'Swans' logo on, has already sold out in the club shop. But he wondered if we are just as excited about our Saviour, and let everyone know how we feel.
The news of what Jesus has done, and of the love of God, is far more exciting, far more significant, than the achievements of a football team. Yet we are shy of talking about it. Often, we are afraid we don't know how to answer questions or deal with other people's responses. Yet if someone disagreed with your favourite football team, you would have plenty to say about it. You would share the facts and figures you have remembered from your time as a supporter. How come you don't have facts and figures at your fingertips about Jesus and Christianity?
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your father who is in heaven. (Matt.5:14-16)
It is my prayer that we all think about how we shine the light of the gospel in our neighbourhoods, and that we take time to learn and prepare so that we can shine more clearly.
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