Monday, February 25, 2019

Are You Shining Like Jimmy?

“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.” – Luke  8:16

Hubert Humphrey, who served as Vice President under President Lyndon Johnson, was narrowly defeated by Richard Nixon in the 1968 presidential election. Ten years later, Humphrey died of cancer. Dignitaries from around the world gathered at his funeral to say “good-bye” to their old friend and colleague. But one attender was shunned and ignored. That person was former president Richard Nixon, who had gone through the shame of Watergate just four years earlier. He was back in Washington for the first time since his resignation from the presidency. Nobody at Humphrey’s funeral would look at him, much less speak to him.

Then a very special thing happened. President Jimmy Carter, who was in the White House at the time, came in and saw Nixon standing all by himself. President Carter went to him, stuck out his hand and smiled as though he were greeting a family member. To everyone’s surprise, the two men embraced, and Carter said, “Welcome home, Mr. President! Welcome home!” Newsweek magazine later wrote, “If there was a turning point in Nixon’s long ordeal in the wilderness, it was that moment and that gesture of love and compassion.”

Why on earth would President Carter do such a thing? Well, because that’s what Jesus would have done. Jimmy Carter may not have been our greatest president, but as a committed follower of Jesus Christ, he believed he was called to shine the light of Christ. And twice a month in Plains, Georgia, Carter still teaches a Sunday School class at Maranatha Baptist Church. At 94 years old, he’s still shining the light of Christ.

Jesus tells us in the book of Luke, verse 8:16, “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.” In the Bible, “light” is often used as a symbol for God’s Word. But in Scripture light is also a symbol for the truth. So, what is Jesus saying in verse 16 of Luke 8? He is saying, “Just as no one lights a lamp during a power outage and hides it in the closet, no Christian who understands God’s word should hide it.” Followers of Christ, who know the truth about salvation, forgiveness and heaven and hell, should never keep that truth to themselves. William Barclay says it so well: “Verse 16 stresses the essential conspicuousness of the Christian life. Christianity is in its very nature something which must be seen.” 

Think about those words. The Christian life should be conspicuous. Our Christianity “must be seen.” You and I are to proclaim God’s word openly to all who are willing to listen. We must proclaim the truth both with our words and our actions. Our faith is to be lived out in plain view. And in verse 17, Jesus stresses the fact that if we DO try to keep our faith hidden, it will eventually be revealed anyway: “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.

That’s a bit scary when you think about it. Many Christians are secretly addicted to porn, and they’re convinced that “Nobody will ever know.”  Yeah, they will. Sooner or later….they’ll know. Many Christians never crack open their Bibles outside of church, and they don’t think that anyone will ever find out. Yeah, they will. Sooner or later…it’ll be revealed. We try hard to hide our faults and our skeletons in the closet from other people. We hope they’ll never find out. Sometimes I’ve shuddered as I’ve considered what it would be like to have my most inappropriate thoughts and my most sinful actions projected on a big screen for all to see. That’d be a nightmare!

But in the context of what Jesus says in verse 17, I don’t think he plans to project our sins on a big screen. What Jesus most likely is referring to is the reality that if you as a follower of Christ hide your Christianity and God’s truth from your friends and family, they’ll discover your secret sooner or later. Imagine how terrible it would be if your family and friends discover that you’re a Christian after they’ve died. “What? You mean you knew all these years where I was going after I died, and you didn’t warn me? You knew how to make it to heaven, and you didn’t tell me? I didn’t think I knew any Christians, and you were one all this time! Why on earth didn’t you tell me?”

You may be one of those Christians who has said for years, “There are two things I never discuss: politics and religion.” Well, la-dee-da! It’s time to change your policy and start talking more openly about Jesus. One of these days your friends and family will find out that you’re serious about your faith. I hope and pray that when they do, it’s not too late.

If you as a Christian are learning God’s truth, but you’re not sharing God’s truth, God will see to it that your growth is stunted, and you’ll start losing much of the knowledge you learned. Just like most things in life, if you don’t use it, you lose it. We must receive God’s Word with open ears, open minds and open hearts. And then we must share God’s word with open eyes, open mouths and open hands. So, do what Jimmy Carter does: Get yourself off the couch and shine your light in this dark world.

Dane Davis is the Lead Pastor of First Christian Church in Victorville. For more information, visit  and join us for worship Sundays at 10 a.m.

No comments:

Post a Comment