“Just Keeping The Lights On”
October 27, 2015
We caught this sight of a Norfolk Southern train, along the Susquehanna River in southern Lancaster County, during one of our bike rides.
Listen to this message on your audio player.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
As it gets darker earlier we are watching a bit more TV and will be watching more baseball since my hometown team, Kansas City Royals, is in the World Series. Of course we will also see lots of commercials, but that’s just the way “free” TV works. Many commercials are a nuisance; some you tune out and some can be quite embarrassing, even more so, if other people are in the room as the commercial discusses medical issues never mentioned publicly years ago. However there are some commercials with a great message and one is running right now which I really like, especially since I like trains.
It’s for Norfolk Southern, a major railroad here in America. It’s the same railroad that runs along the Susquehanna River on several of our bike trails. I have a link to a YouTube video of the commercial below if you care to watch.
Two engineers are visiting with one another and discussing what they are each hauling that day. The first one looks at his manifest and answers, “Moved some new cars, hauled a bunch of steel, kept the supermarket shelves stocked, made sure everyone got their latest gadgets.” As he responds background videos feature the products ending with a girl holding her new smartphone. He then asked the other engineer, “What’s up with the next shipment?” He answers, “Nothing much, just keeping the lights on” while the camera shows a long train hauling coal.
The takeaway from the ad is that hauling coal isn’t as appealing as some of the more “exciting” items the first engineer is hauling, yet it is actually critical to everything else. If the power sources for electricity go down it will impact many, many other aspects of modern life!
Today some have ways of serving Christ that are more appealing than others. Some are famous; they may draw large crowds to concerts or speaking conferences. Others have written best-selling books, pastor mega-churches and so forth.
But most of us are simply just keeping the lights on and only a few will attain any significant notoriety in their lifetime. Today we express thanks for all the people who are faithful in “keeping the lights on”. If these believers stop shining it would indeed be very dark!
Many years ago when we lived in New England there was a neighboring pastoral couple who graduated from the same Bible College Brooksyne and I attended. Joe and Judy Biddle were nearly ten years ahead of us and recently retired but they noted the overall positive receptivity of Christianity in Springfield MO. After all there were three different Christian colleges in that city. But they also noticed it in much of the Midwest and southern states in comparison to their home turf of New England. But after graduation they returned to their home state of Massachusetts where some have dubbed Christians there, “the frozen chosen”! Actually, there is a much greater degree of unbelief and cynicism as we personally witnessed while pastoring in Massachusetts for nearly 8 years (though the rest of the country is catching up)!
Brooksyne remembers asking Judy, “Weren’t you tempted to stay in an area where people are more receptive to the Gospel?” Without hesitation she responded, “No, I couldn’t wait to return to Massachusetts. The darker the sight, the brighter the light.” She was basically saying that if we, as believers, shine our light before the darkened world, brightness, truth, and deliverance will follow. This couple faithfully served the same congregation in Fall River, MA for over 40 years and they’ve seen many people come to Christ over the years.
You may work with many dedicated Christians in a well-lit place and feel your light doesn’t really make a difference, yet you are a vital part of the whole. Have you ever attended a wedding ceremony or other candlelighting service where just one candle burns out? Have you seen a store sign lit up at night with one letter missing its back up light? How about a strand of lights that aren’t working on the Christmas tree? It’s an eyesore and your eye is too often drawn to the unlit or broken part, rather than the whole candelabra or the business sign in its entirety.
When we, as believers, allow the life changing message of Christ to wane in our lives or behave in a manner that does not glorify Him our flame flickers. If it goes completely unchecked our light can burn out. We don’t want to bring disgrace or further the darkness but rather we want to honor the One “who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Today the Almighty God of the universe has called us to let our light shine. Let’s all do so!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father God, You have called us to be a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people set apart to show forth the praises of Christ who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. Since You have brightened our darkness we will not conceal it in the privacy of our own home or car, but we will shine the light of Christ wherever we are; in the marketplace, in the business place, in the neighborhood, in the voting booth, in church and wherever we have opportunity to bring forth light in this world of darkness. We can make a difference and want to do so. We want to witness faithfully through Jesus Christ our Lord in whose name we pray. Amen.
“Greetings Brooksyne! I share with you your proud moment when you heard your Sunday School student recite the Lord’s Prayer by memory! I am sure you won’t remember this, but I sure do! I did the same thing at around the same age while going to church with your family. My prize? A shiny silver dollar, which I still have, by the way! Each time I pile my car full of kiddos and bring them to church, it reminds me of you. I would not have been at church as a child if you had not invited me and got me there.”
Brooksyne’s response: As I read Lorna’s note, who has become a daily encouragement reader in recent years, tears flowed and memory lane kicked in. I was taken back to the 60’s when we were a family of seven who drove a small Ford Falcon. Just the seven members of our family was enough to fill the small car but we’d pile up with neighborhood kids sitting on our laps (way before the seat belt law) and take them to Sunday School & VBS. There were times when we had so many kids Daddy would make two trips. Over fifty years later my heart is overwhelmed with thanksgiving that Mom and Dad had a burden for souls and engaged us, their children, in gathering in other children to hear the gospel message. Lorna’s note warmed my heart and reminded me again of the importance of shining our light in our neighborhood, inviting people to church, sharing one on one our testimony of faith and deliverance, calling on those who at one time had a fervent walk with God but are no longer fellowshipping with other believers. Let’s all brighten our neighborhoods and workplaces so that all the world will hear that Jesus saves!
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“One Voice/Where No One Stands Alone” Video Gaither Vocal Band This is a powerful song from an earlier era, not a specific Christian message, but applicable in the theme of shining your light even if you’re the only one doing it. A tremendous rendering of this popular song.
“This Little Light Of Mine” Video Another very spirited version.
“Lord, Hold Me” Video Opstand Gospel Choir
“Brighten The Corner Where You Are” Video The Statesmen Quartet Woe! We played this and I, Brooksyne, thought that’s OLD! But then I considered that’s how I first heard this song as we often attended Blackwood Brothers concerts, Statesman Quartet, Happy Goodmans. So I dedicate this song to all who grew up hearing these great songs that grew us in our faith walk.
“Just Keeping The Lights On” Norfolk Southern Commercial
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