At the risk of boring you who have heard lighthouse stories so often from me. I guess we have to be careful not to get on our hobby horse too often because people can turn off the lesson. So, to you who may not have heard this before this is your first installment!!

My father was a lighthouse principal keeper from when I was four years old until I was thirteen and there was only one occasion I can remember when Dad failed for some reason to light the lighthouse mantle until after dark leaving a busy shipping lane in danger of losing their way on the rocky coastline. Fortunately, there were no ships about at the time. On another occasion when I was eight years old at Cape Brett, I was given a flashlight for my birthday so I could take Dad’s supper up the steep zig-zag track to the tower. I was about halfway up the track one evening when I noticed the lights from a ship passing by out at sea. A little boy’s curiosity overcame him to see if his flashlight would reach the ship with a number of attempts, and to his amazement signals were coming back from the ship consequently this little boy had ten minutes of fun especially when the ship turned around. An angry Dad spotted what I was doing from the tower.

Dad told me he was going to radio the Marine Department later and tell them what I had done because Dad was getting repeat messages from the ship, “Are you in trouble”? If I had known Morse code, I would have known before I reached Dad, I was the one in trouble. The moral of the story is this: be careful how you apply the light you have because Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world, a city (or lighthouse) on a hill cannot be hidden” (unless you forget to light it). Jesus continues, “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on a stand and it gives light to everyone in the house”. In the same way, let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven”. Light can be used wrongly by missing opportunities to shine it and to use it for the wrong motives (Phil 1:15). You are the light of the world just as salt makes a difference to people’s food, so light makes a difference to those around you. Jesus would later explain, “I am the light of the world if you follow me you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Paul said in Philippians 2:5 “Your attitude should be the same as Christ” followed by vs 14-16, the importance of unity among Christians, “Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life”. What a privilege for believers to be referred to by Jesus as the light of the world when He also spoke of Himself as the light of the world. The difference between the two is that Jesus is the source of light, Christians are the reflection of His light. The emphases rests on the ministry of Christian character showing the world a counter-culture. The evidence of Christlikeness speaks louder than words.

Author: John Shepherd