Wednesday, April 13, 2016


We don’t want to have a build-up of smudges on our Christian witness and our relationship with Christ. He wants us spotless so His light can shine through us, just like on lighthouse glass, which must shine so ships can find their way.


Free of smudges

After my great-grandfather and his wife were married during the Civil War, they were lighthouse keepers for a year on one of the Raspberry Islands off the coast of Maine. Every keeper's most important duty was to make sure the windows remained clear so ships could see the light shining through them. During their tenure, my great-grandparents also had to watch for enemy ships.

Back then, the light was fueled by whale oil or other kinds of oil. The burning oil caused a build-up of soot and smudge on the glass prisms and on the windows surrounding the lantern room. Later, kerosene was used—a much cleaner fuel, but not so clean as to eliminate the daily chore of cleaning the glass.

The prism/window-cleaning task was ultra-important. In fact, all keepers' manuals demanded that absolutely nothing should hinder the diligent cleaning of the glass. The light had to shine through—regardless. In case of illness, accident, or even death, a keeper's wife or assistant must take over that duty.

Followers of Christ are like lighthouse keepers. Jesus said, in Matthew 5:14-16: "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."

As lights of the world, we need to keep our lives free from the dirty smudges of sin that hinder us from shining brightly for Christ. That's not an easy task. It takes daily confession and repentance to remove the smudges. And as with lighthouse keepers, it requires diligence and perseverance. Nothing should keep us from being the bright light God requires of us, a light that will draw others to Him. He wants us to show His love constantly, doing good while praising and thanking Him even in the midst of adversity. When we take our lighthouse keeping job seriously, we will be blessed with God's peace and joy.

Lord, forgive us when we forget to clean up the smudges of our spiritual light. We want to shine brightly for You so others will see You reflected in us. Cause us to take our lighthouse keeping task seriously each morning as we seek Your specific will. In Jesus' name, amen.

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