Summary: We all have a purpose. We’re all here to worship and serve God. Nothing can stop His goals and purposes. We need to figure out how we fit in, and let our light shine in a world full of darkness.
Call to Christ, Let Your Light Shine
A young man accepted Christ. A little while later, a Christian teacher asked him: "What have you done for Christ since you believed?" He said, "Oh, I’m only a learner."
"Well, when you light a candle do you light it to make the candle more comfortable, or to have it give light?" He said, "Well… to give light."
"Do you expect it to give light after it is half burned, or when you first light it?" He replied, "As soon as I light it, of course."
"OK," said the teacher, "Why should you be any different? Go and do likewise.” (Sherm Nichols, “Have You Found What You’re Looking For?”, http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermon.asp?SermonID=116481&libronix=1)
We’ve all been called to Christ. We’ve been called into a relationship with our Lord and Savior. We’ve all come through our own path, and our own calling to meet God. But, each of us sheds light in our own way.
There have been many throughout scripture that have shined their own light in the darkness. Some have burned brightly right from the start. Others, have burned halfway before shedding their light. Tonight, I’d like to take a look at God’s call to some of the men in scripture, and their response to hide or shed their light.
I’ll start with a famous story from the Old Testament. Many of you are familiar with the story of Jonah and the whale. He was trapped inside a great fish for three days, and survived by the grace of God. But, what led to that miraculous situation?
God spoke to Jonah and called him to go and preach to Nineveh, a huge city plagued with wickedness. He was to become a prophet to encourage the Ninevites to change their ways. Jonah refused. He knew what God wanted him to do, and He knew where to go… and he chose a different path to follow.
Instead of dedicating himself to the mission at hand, finding transportation, and heading toward the city that needed his help, Jonah rejected the call, bought a ticket on a boat headed in the opposite direction, and took off to Tarshish, leaving Nineveh in his rearview mirror.
God wasn’t too awfully happy with this. He sent a storm to pummel Jonah’s ship with waves from the sea and the strength of a violent wind. Everyone on the boat felt that they would die because the sailors couldn’t control the direction of the ship. They were far from land to give them refuge, and all seemed hopeless and doomed. Passengers felt that someone must have displeased God to have such a storm overtake the boat. After a while, conversation turned to Jonah who claimed he had fled away from the Lord. They didn’t want to hurl him into a watery death, but Jonah volunteered. They tossed him overboard, feeling it was their only option to appease the Hebrew God.
But, God’s plan was more than just getting Jonah off of that ship. It was to show Jonah who was in control. Shortly after Jonah hit the waves, the storm subsided. He quieted the wind and sent a fish to swallow the future prophet, and deliver him to Ninevah. God’s plan had not yet been fulfilled, but He would not be deterred by a man refusing to follow.
When God calls someone to serve, no matter how much they protest, His will WILL be done! If we try to hide our light, God will find a way for it to shine through, either by choice, or by force.
Samuel’s situation was a bit different. A sleeping child heard a sound in the wind and thought it was his master. He was a good servant, ready and able to do his master’s will. When he heard the voice, he ran to Eli to do his bidding. But Eli didn’t call him. This repeated for three more times before Eli realized what was happening and told Samuel to listen to what the Lord had to say. When Samuel was ready to listen, God spoke to him. He chose to talk to Samuel directly just as He spoke to Jonah.
But where Jonah ran away and tried to avoid God’s direction, Samuel came running at the sound of his master’s voice. He sought to please the one he served by running to Eli’s side. When he finally figured out that God was calling him, he answered with the simple statement “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10, NIV). He listened, he grew in the Lord, and he became a great prophet. He let his light shine brightly and illuminated Israel with the truth that God revealed to him. God had a plan, and Samuel worked to fulfill that plan.