Just coming bleary-eyed out of my bedroom the other day, and someone snapped on the light. Don’t you just hate that! My eyes immediately scrunched up to combat the brightness, but the other person had been working in the light, and needed it to see.
Moses was given instructions on making a lamp stand to light up the Holy Place in the tabernacle (Exodus 24:31-40) The priests were going to have to tend the candle flames to make sure they never went out. It would be the only source of light as there were no windows. I wonder if they needed to scrunch up their eyes as they entered, as the light bounced off all the beautiful gold surfaces? It must have been a beautiful sight once their eyes acclimatised. And of course it was necessary for them to see to do their work.
The lamp stand was of course a symbol, looking forward to Jesus, the light of the world. The one who would bring light to dark places. For some he would bring welcome illumination, a better way of living, a new way of coming to know, and understand more about, the God they served. For others, the brilliance of his presence on earth was uncomfortable. They preferred the old ways, without the challenge and change his light brought. They didn’t want to open up their scrunched-up eyes to the bright truth of Jesus.
But Jesus wasn’t the only one that the lamp stand represented. He told his disciples, “You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14-16). And they were to shine brightly, with lights uncovered, to be seen by all, bringing praise to Father God.
Some people will be glad if I achieve that, because their world will be brighter; it will help them to do their work better; they may even begin to know, or understand more about, the God I serve.
Some people may be downright uncomfortable though, because I am disturbing the comfort of the peaceable apathy they enjoy, or illuminating the grubbiness of sinful lives, or bringing challenge and change to old ways.
And the challenge to me is, is my light shining brightly enough that people notice, either way?