Why do we struggle with being a light to the world? In particular, why do many of us struggle being a light to our spouses, children, workmates and neighbourhood? What hinders us from bearing fruit in our most important relationships?
One of our greatest hindrances to being a light is our lack of preparation. A torch needs to be prepared before it can shine. The oil needs to be topped up and the wick trimmed and ready. Unless you are equipped and cared for you will never burn bright.
It is the same with a tree. Fruit does not grow out of the thin air. It takes a tree to produce fruit. We need to be like a good tree in order to bear fruit and be a light to the world. A tree has roots, a strong trunk, branches, and leaves. Unless we understand that being a light to the world takes the same time and effort as cultivating a fruitful tree, we will never shine and be the Lord’s witnesses.
The hope of the church’s calling to the world is magnificent. We are actually the hope of the world; God’s calling brings hope, not only to us, but also to those who are “without hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12). However, too many people who at one time joyfully received the Gospel message never go on to bear good fruit. They believe what they hear but they never become a witness. They seem to see the light but never become a light to the world. This is why Jesus spoke the Parable of the Sower.
In the Parable of the Sower Jesus mentions that some seed “fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root” (Matt. 13:5-6, TNIV). He then explains: “The seed falling on rocky ground refers to people who hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away” (Matt. 13:20-21, TNIV). The problem of fruitlessness was caused by an absence of roots. No roots, no fruits. Unless we break up the fallow ground of our hearts through continual repentance, unless we fall on the Rock and are broken in pieces, the Word will not take root in us. In the parable, the soil was shallow, and unfortunately people often are content to be shallow. By letting God go deep into our hearts, by letting him search and try us, our lives gain depth. Only as we first go deep can we gain height. A seed must go down, before it can grow up.
Prayer: Father, if I’m going to be a light I need you to work in me and prepare me. Get out of my life everything that will not fuel your fire. Trim my wick; fill me with your oil. Make me like a tree planted by rivers of water that bears its fruit in season. May I not be content to be shallow. Do a deep work in me that will bring light to the world, in Jesus’ name.