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Flashlight or Lighthouse?

When you look at your spiritual life, do you aspire to be a lighthouse or a flashlight?  What do you wish for your church?  I understand your initial response might be, “of course, a lighthouse”.  I would like to challenge that response.

For years, I lived on the shoreline of Lake Michigan.  Lighthouses are something that I cherish.  I love to look at them.  I love their structures.  I love taking pictures.  For me, a lighthouse is something different than it is for people who live inland.

I recently asked a person in our church what a lighthouse represented.  Her response was, “a lighthouse is a beacon for those who need it.”  Then I asked her how much time she has spent around lighthouses.  She said ‘not much’.  I tend to think the average person in our country believes the same thing about lighthouses.  In fact, there are many Christians who want their church to be associated with a lighthouse.  I would like to challenge this belief about lighthouses.

I agree that a lighthouse is a beacon in the midst of danger or darkness.  It signals that safety is close by.  The person move toward the beacon.  This will happen if the individual believes he/she is caught in danger.

For the rest of hours in a day, week and year, a lighthouse is nothing more than a structure that is beautiful to look at.  There is no reason to visit it.  If there is no danger, there is no reason to think it can save you.  For most of its existence, a lighthouse serves no purpose other than an attractive piece of the skyline.

I hope and pray that my spiritual is much more significant than an attractive piece of skyline.

Where is your nearest flashlight?  Mine is a simple button on my iPhone that I use frequently.  It is always available when I need a little more light shining in a situation.  Circumstances can be normal and I use a flashlight.  Storms can occur and I use a flashlight.  I take my kids camping and we use a flashlight.  We go on a night hike and we use a flashlight.  Flashlights are very useful in every situation.  For most of us, flashlights are instantly available.

Flashlights provide light whenever and wherever we need it.

Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world…let your light shine before men”

I encourage today to live your journey more like a flashlight than a lighthouse.  Live your journey in a way that brings the light of Jesus to every situation you find yourself.

The light of Jesus is for every day of our lives, not just when storms occur.