When the Stars Shine Bright

sky2_1552774iI’ve been told that the English language can be difficult to comprehend due to the multiple definitions a single word can have.

As an example, think of the word “light.” It can be used in many different ways:

  • The words of the speaker shed some light on the subject.
  • Her suitcase was heavy, and she wanted to lighten her load.
  • He turned on the light switch, so he could see.

Light can also:

  • Bring comfort when a person is frightened
  • Be discomforting when it reveals a secret
  • Guide us or help to give direction: Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105).

Many years ago, I had a conversation with Richard Gregory concerning his time in the navy. When the ship was sailing under a “lights out” order, an officer would summons Richard to the deck. Richard could look at the stars at night and tell the officer what time it was.

Richard could do this because he was a student of astronomy, and he had memorized four important landmarks in the night sky:

  • The 0-hour circle
  • The 6-hour circle
  • The 12-hour circle
  • The 18-hour circle

Richard’s ability to comprehend the night sky was a benefit to his shipmates. It not only told them the hour of the night, but it also helped to guide the ship.

In I John 2:5, John used a word that is meaningful to our discussion: “Whoever keeps His word, truly in him the love of God is perfected.” The word “keeps” was a nautical term. Sailors in John’s day would speak of “keeping the stars,” or charting their course at night by the stars.

The Star that shines more brightly than any other is the one that Peter referred to as the “morning star,” and He is the one to follow:

We ourselves heard God’s voice from heaven when we were with Jesus on that holy mountain. We have a fuller confirmation of the message of the prophets. You would do well to pay close attention to this word; it is like a light that shines for you in the darkness of night until the day dawns when the morning star rises in your own hearts.

~2 Peter 1:18-9

Think about it: You can lighten your load, brighten your path, and find your way through the darkness when you chart your course by the light of the Morning Star.

A Radical Life and a Twinkling Star

starry sky at nightRadical is the title of an interesting book written by David Platt. It contains several compelling statements that have a Great Commission orientation:  Platt said, “Jesus has not given us an effortless step-by-step formula for impacting nations for His glory.  He has given us people.”

The closest thing to a formula is found in Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8,  but these verses are more of a road map than they are a formula. To have any hope of accomplishing the Commission Christ gave His church, we need to live the life of a disciple.

Platt said Jesus has given us people, and we are to: “Live for them. Love them, serve them, and lead them.  Lead them to follow me, and lead them to lead others to follow me.  In the process you will multiply the gospel to the ends of the earth.”

Because we are living in the age of “me, myself, and nobody else,” this concept is contrary to what many people practice.  With this mindset, it is no wonder that society does not comprehend principled New Testament living.

Is there a glaring omission of the Commission and its principles in your life?

  • Are you living a selfish or selfless lifestyle?
  • How is God’s love for the world seen in your ministry to others?
  • Does your example impede, or does it lead people to Jesus?
  • What about your conversation? Does it deny or multiply the power of the gospel?

If you live, love, and lead people with a servant’s heart, you can identify with the words of Daniel 12:2-3:  “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.  And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”

Does your life brightly shine for God’s glory?