“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” Philippians 2:14-16
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
15 plus years at Greystone and the cabin overnight still makes me giddy. I mean really, bottomless s’mores, ample time for DMCs, and sleeping in a hammock next to your best friends – what could be better? Still, on every overnight, there’s one moment that crowns them all.
Do you remember the awe that struck you when you first took a break from catching fireflies to admire the Apple Hill sky after sundown? There’s hundreds upon hundreds of stars, each more beautiful than the last, and you can’t take your eyes off of them. It’s like that in any dim setting; in darkness, light draws the eye.
The image of light runs throughout camp, from vespers to council fire, and not on accident; for it appears all throughout the Bible. In Philippians, Paul likens Christians to stars and the mesmerizing light they let off in the sky. Neither stars nor believers will themselves to shine, and yet, they naturally command attention by lighting the dark.
At camp, this doesn’t seem so daunting – in a sky littered with stars it’s hard to focus on a single light. It’s different when you go home though, back to the real world where you may feel like the only star near you.
Following Christ means that you may stand out, you may have to make different decisions than your friends; without a doubt, your life’s going to look different than that of those who don’t know Him. If you’re anything like me, this may sound daunting – it’s so much easier to blend in! But beauty comes with the brightness. That glow makes people stop and stare, not at you, but at what’s inside you, glowing from your heart.
When you look at those stars on Apple Hill, your first instinct isn’t to praise the stars themselves right? Of course not! Their glory makes you want to shout and sing to their Creator, to the One who gave them that light and placed them in the sky. In the same way, shining in a dark world shouldn’t make us bashful, but boastful in our Maker’s goodness. Choosing the path of Jesus doesn’t so much put a spotlight on us, but on Him, the one who illuminates us from the start.
The stars don’t work hard to shine or beat themselves up when they don’t gleam as brightly as their neighbor. In a similar way, we can relieve ourselves of the pressure to be a perfect light for the gospel. The Lord created you to shine uniquely, not as a product of your good choices, but as an ingrained part of your new identity. You are a light for Christ, so shine brightly with contagious boldness; it can light up the whole sky!