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Miranda Writes: Light’s Out? Part I




by Omar Miranda



Several weeks ago we had two telephone poles with related telephone and electricity lines ripped out of the ground by what appeared to be some kind of large vehicle. We still don’t know what caused it, but we figure it was the garbage truck with its large, forklike mechanical arms still in the air. I mean, it caused wreckage and chaos all over our road and knocked out our phones for several days . . . ahhh, no Internet!

As I watched the different companies come out and reestablish all of our services, I realized that not only had our phone been impacted, but this accident also knocked out several streetlights. In place of those old lights, we now have beautiful black, stately, turn-of-the-century reproduction streetlights that look like they’re made of cast iron, with fancy scrollwork on the pole and the top. Absolutely beautiful. Everybody who comes to visit us mentions how pretty they are. As far as street lamps go, the city must have paid a lot of money for each one.

I had called and reported the broken lights, and all the streetlights were quickly fixed . . . except one: the one on the corner of an intersection right beside my home. Now that might not seem important, but as I’ve mentioned before, I live in downtown Plainville. Although we don’t have any traffic lights, Main Street is busy. I sit on my front porch from time to time and hear conversations clearly that are happening on these two streets. Let me tell you, when it’s summer time and school’s out, a lot of stuff goes down on these two particular streets. Out of all the spots in the mean streets of Plainville, this spot needs the most light! It’s absolutely amazing how something isn’t noticed until it’s not working. I mean, the whole street is brightly lit . . . except for that one spot. Not only is it not lit, but it’s like there is a black hole of nothingness there. OK, maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but you get the idea.

As I sat on my front porch, listening to the sounds of the night and wondering what kinds of naughty naughtiness was being planned for the night’s “fun,” I got to thinking how things might be different if that streetlight had been on—awake, aware, and doing its job. So fast-forward several days later, when the wonderful folks from Georgia Power came out, unscrewed the lamppost, took it apart, inspected it, and found and fixed the problem. Now we have wonderful, consistent, safe lighting all night long.

Watching all that drama got me to thinking a lot about our role in this world as shining lights for God in a dark and dreary world. Jesus tells us that as Christians we’re to be lights in a dark world, shining for God so others can see and praise Him (Matthew 5:15, 16). He also tells us through the apostle Paul that Christians should “be the pure and innocent children of God. You live among people who are crooked and evil, but you must not do anything that they can say is wrong. Try to shine as lights among the people of this world, as you hold firmly to the message that gives life” (Philippians 2:15, 16).*

Jesus makes it clear that our role in this world is to shine for Him, but what happens when we stop shining? What then? As far as street lamps go, the ones we have in our town look breathtakingly beautiful . . . but until a few days ago, a strategically placed one didn’t work. So I ask again: What good is a streetlight if it doesn’t work? What happens to it?

Well, believe it or not, there’s a story in the Bible about just this issue. It had to do with one of the early churches in the important city of Ephesus. This church had it all together—at least when they got started. They were on target and shining brightly for Jesus, but then life happened and the individual and collective lights began to burn less brightly, and even less brightly, and then they went out all altogether. How sad. They were like that streetlight in my neighborhood that just looked pretty but didn’t work. Maybe you go to one of those kinds of churches, or maybe you’re one of those kinds of Christians.
I want to share with you the story. It’s found Revelation 2:1-7: “This is what you must write to the angel of the church in Ephesus: I am the one who holds the seven stars in my right hand, and I walk among the seven gold lampstands. Listen to what I say. I know everything you have done, including your hard work and how you have endured. I know you won’t put up with anyone who is evil. When some people pretended to be apostles, you tested them and found out that they were liars. You have endured and gone through hard times because of me, and you have not given up. But I do have something against you! And it is this: You don’t have as much love as you used to. Think about where you have fallen from, and then turn back and do as you did at first. If you don’t turn back, I will come and take away your lampstand. But there is one thing you are doing right. You hate what the Nicolaitans are doing, and so do I. lf you have ears, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. I will let everyone who wins the victory eat from the life-giving tree in God’s wonderful garden.”

Next week we’ll finish our story of a church that started out really well and then ended up really badly. We’ll talk about what went wrong and what we can learn from it. That way we learn how to apply this information to our lives so we don’t become a burned-out shell of a Christian who looks good but lacks any power to light our world for God’s glory.

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omiranda@rhpa.org; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, editor, Insight Magazine

*Scripture quotations in this article are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.

Omar Miranda is the editor/director of Insight Ministries and a Christian counselor and with more than 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.

 





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