It was an unusual place to be in complete darkness.  My husband and I had planned a little Valentine’s Day getaway last weekend just for the night at a nice hotel only thirty minutes from our home.  We had checked in that afternoon, gone out for a wonderful dinner, made a stop at TCBY for dessert, and then headed back to our hotel.  It was quite a shock to look up as we exited off the highway and realize that it was hard to even see the building.  It was because there was no light!  There were strong winds that night due to an incoming front and something had happened that had caused there to be no electricity in the area.

After the maintenance man opened the door to the stairs, I went to our room.  There were emergency lights in the stairwell and in the hall but nothing in the room but the occasional blink of the red light on the smoke alarm.  Thankfully, I had a flashlight app on my phone, but when I called my husband to see what he wanted to do, the flashlight went off and I was in total darkness.

Nothing will make you appreciate light like being in darkness.

Jesus said of us in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”  Once again, a statement of our purpose – a great purpose.

Recently I heard a message by Andy Stanley about being salt and light.  The main thing that stood out to me as he talked about this passage was the definition of the word “set” in the phrase “a city set on a hill”.  He said that the word means “strategically placed”.

Do you see yourself that way – as a “strategically placed light”?  Maybe you are in a job that isn’t the career path you want.  Maybe you are in one with a difficult boss or co-workers.  Maybe you wonder how you even got to where you are – moving to the Triangle held such promise but it hasn’t turned out at all like you thought it would.  Maybe the Lord will move you on in the future from these circumstances, but wherever you are – no matter how much you question why you are there – you are a “strategically placed light”.  In His sovereignty and goodness, God has you where you are for a reason – to walk with Him in such a way that your good deeds bring glory to Him in a dark place.  And there is plenty of darkness around us that needs some light!

When you think about it, it gives great purpose to your day and to your interactions with others.  No matter what your job or what you are doing, you are light.  Thanks to the grace of God and the Holy Spirit, you have the power to respond to situations in ways that glorify God, to make decisions all day that glorify God, to relate to your co-workers in ways that glorify God.  (Galatians 5:22-23)  It may be tempting to hide your light, but Jesus exhorts His disciples to not “put it under a basket” but to let it shine for His kingdom.

It’s amazing the difference just a little light makes in complete darkness.  Since we had electricity and therefore light and heat at home, we decided to pack up, leave the hotel, and hope for a refund (which, thankfully, we got).  All I had to see to pack up our stuff was the light from my iPhone.  But it was enough.  The greater the darkness, the brighter a little light is.

Shine on!

To watch Andy Stanley’s message on salt and light (called “Showing Up”) click here.