There is a very ugly creature God made that puts on full display His ineffable sense of humor. It is called an anglerfish. At 2,080 feet below sea level, the anglerfish swims about with a light bulb attached to his head. You may’ve seen his cameo in Finding Nemo. He uses his fleshy tendril of light to lure in his quarry and, like moths drawn to a flame, the anglerfish’s bioluminescence attracts prey.
So too, as fishers of men we draw people into the gospel net not by our glower but by our glow – not by trying to debate people into the kingdom but by being da bate and luring them in via our Mo-glow. When Moses’s face glowed after being in God’s presence, that’s when the people told him, “Whatever you say, we will do.” People are attracted to a glow.
Jesus never said, “You are the little, black cloud of the world destined to drizzle.” You are the “light of the world” with a shine design! When I die, I hope the epitaph on my tombstone reads: “Here lies a lump of sunshine.” I don’t want to be the guy who rains on your parade, but who gives you a soul suntan?! After all, the Bible doesn’t say the common people heard Jesus sadly but gladly.
Don’t be a drain, be a fountain. Not a Cassandra, but a Pollyanna. Not a little, black raincloud, but a lump of sunshine. Not a curser of the darkness, but a precursor for the Sun of righteousness. The psalmist declared, “The Lord your God is a sun.” Like the sunflower practicing heliotropism, follow the Sun’s movement across the sky, and face east in anticipation of the sunrise when night falls.
The world can be a cold, dark and lonely place, zapping people’s hope and muting their joy.
Now, more than ever, we need to speckle the planet with lamps. St. Paul wrote in Philippians 2:15 that we shine as lights in “a wicked and perverse generation.” His Greek word for “lights” is phosteres. It’s got a fascinating history. This is the same word used in the Septuagint when the author of Genesis writes that God made the great lights, viz. the sun, moon and stars. If you want to see the stars shine brightest, you don’t go to downtown LA. You go to the Mohave. The blacker the sky, the more the stars pop. Just as the darker the heavens are the more the phosteres shine – so too God from the heavens looks down at earth and sees the more “wicked and perverse” our generation is, the brighter becomes our shine design!
So, let’s stop complaining about how dark the world is and use the darkness as a backdrop against which to shine all the brighter!
The world can be nihilistic and atheistic, so it’s our job to be optimistic and mystic. We are solidity in a world of entropy. Question: How can we make sure the shine doesn’t wear off…even when we we’re trekking through Tophet, swimming the Styx, slogging through the slough of despond, engulfed by a sevenfold horror of midnight darkness? I’ll turn to science for the answer. Did you know that the speed of light is the only stable element in the universe? Atoms are a snow flurry of particles; electrons exist in ghost states, disappear and then pop up somewhere else and can leap from point A to point B without traveling the distance in between. The universe is moving. But the speed of light is the one constant.
At 186,000 miles per second, light takes 12.3 billion years to travel from the furthest galaxy thus far discovered to our pale, blue dot. Light from the sun takes eight minutes to journey to the Earth. Here’s a brainteaser: The sun you are currently enjoying is not the sun as it is at present, but the sun as it was eight minutes in the past, and theoretically, the stars you will see later tonight might’ve died long ago, seeing as you in the future will see their past state. Still and all, light speed is steady and stable in a world that isn’t. The writer John maintained, “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all,” and Jesus’s brother called God “The Father of Lights.” Like light speed, God is the only stable element in existence: the same yesterday, today, and forever. The only thing new about Him…are His mercies. “They are new every morning.”
Light is made up of energy quanta called photons, and there are approximately four million photons per square meter. Scientists are now telling us there is light in every square inch of the universe! While 96% of the universe is unknowable – made up of black holes and dark matter and dark energy – There is light even in the darkest places of the cosmos. Because God is light, we can with David declare, “Where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there Your hand shall lead me…” (Psalm 139:7b-10a). Like light, God’s everywhere.
A precocious child, renowned for being possessed of wisdom beyond his age accounted for, was once told by a grownup, “Son, I’ll give you an orange if you can tell me where God is.” The boy replied, “Sir, I’ll give you two oranges if you can tell me where God is not.” Case. In. Point. God does not isolate but can infiltrate your shadow self.
God does not flee from your darkness, on the contrary, you cannot flee from His light.
The prophet declared, “Even if I sit in darkness, then the Lord will be a light unto me.” In shadows of death and black holes transmogrifying your heart to vacuum, the Light of the World there dwells! When all gives way to chaos and the dark, the Lord is your light and your salvation…of whom shall you be afraid?
So go be His ambassador, His commercial, His marketing ad campaign and live up to who you already are as phosteres and lights of the world. Jesus not only gave Himself the moniker “the light of the world,” but He called you by the same sobriquet with which He nicknamed Himself. What kudos!
By the by, you are the light of the world not only metaphorically but scientifically. Humans are bioluminescent creatures due to metabolic reactions within the body. Our glow may be 1,000 times weaker than the naked eye can register, but still, we qualify as lights. Ergo, if your wife has bed-head in the morning and hasn’t yet had her coffee, you can tell her she glows. Scientifically, you’re not lying! Tell her she looks like a million bucks (but if you’re in England, don’t say she looks like a million pounds). Daniel 12:3 says she’s a star. Katy Perry is a pop star, The Chef-Steph-Curry is a basketball star, but she is a kingdom star!
Because God is as stable as the speed of light, more omnipresent than photons, dwelling even in the shadow of death, turning our scars into stars, let’s be like Moses on Sinai, turn on the Mo-glow, be lumps of sunshine and use our light to fish for men!