Blog - Embodying Truth
Identity: You Are LightThursday, October 16, 2014
A few weeks ago, I installed two motion-activated LED lights—3200 lumens combined—on the front of our home. Why? Because the after-dark activity on our street has alarmed all the neighbors. Now the beams from those bulbs reveal the comings and goings of the "nightcrawlers.”
Jesus sends us into the work world to play a role similar to those LED bulbs—to reveal the real. He said people love darkness for one reason: their deeds [works] are evil (Jn. 3:19). "You,” he said of his followers, "are the light of the world. . . .let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds [works] and praise your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:14, 16). A spiritually dark workplace, then, becomes a stage on which evil works take place side-by-side with good works, light-shedding works.
Some think the work world is just too spiritually murky for Christ-followers. For example, well-meaning believers advised a graphic designer not to enter three occupations. He should not work as an artist—too much temptation. He should not enter politics—too much dirt. Nor should he serve as a lawyer—the lure of money. A former soldier said, "I soon found that the military was really no place for a Christian. Daily my ears were assaulted with profane and obscene language.”
But according to Jesus, spiritual darkness—far from being a reason to avoid the work world—is exactly the reason his followers need to enter it. Just as his Father sent him into this dark world, Jesus sends us into the spiritual shadows of the work world (Jn. 20:21; Matt. 10:16).
For a time, my father worked for a small manufacturing firm. During breaks and the lunch hour, his coworkers sat around telling off-color jokes. At first, Dad felt like getting off by himself during those times. But then he remembered his identity as a light. So he made it a point to memorize hilarious, clean jokes, and interjected these into the conversation.
Janna Levin, professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard College, Columbia University, says: "I want to ask you all to consider for a second the very simple fact that, by far, most of what we know about the universe comes to us from light.” For some of those in your work circles, a significant part of what they know about the reality of righteousness and truth may well come from the light of Christ you reflect as you relate to, work with, and talk with them.
Even a mini-light powerfully affects a maxi-darkness. When I was 13, our family visited the Lewis and Clark caverns in Montana. Deep inside the cave, the guide switched off the electric lights. Suddenly, none of us could see each other, let alone our own feet. Then the guide lit a tiny match and we could see again—not enough light to read by, but enough to keep us from stumbling into other visitors.
As a Christ-follower in the workplace, remember who you are: you are not a layperson but a light. "You are light . . .” (Eph. 5:8).