The Lamp Under a Bushel: Intentional Shining

Where is this parable? Matthew 5:14-15, Mark 4: 21-25, Luke 8:16-18

What does being “the light of the world” mean to you?

It’s pretty clear that everyone on this earth is unique. There are no two people who are exactly alike and that is exactly what God intended. God has given all of us a specific talent, a light. It could be a variety of different things. From being the best pianist in your town to just being able to talk to and relate to others. Whatever your light may be, it was given to all of us for the same reason. To be a beacon for God’s good word and compassion.

How can we be beacons for God’s love and teachings?

“Intentional shining” is a term I really like to use for these instances. To me, it means to use your God-given gift in a positive and purposeful way. We should all be using our own unique light to shine with the purpose of intentionally bringing light to God and His love. We are all lamps that have been lit by God himself for a purpose and none of us were lit for the intention of being hidden away. God knows His plan for us and it is good. Just as no one would light a lamp and then hide the lamp away, God doesn’t strike a fire of passion in our souls and then wish for us to conceal ourselves from the world.

I encourage everyone to think about their God-given “light” this Lent season and ponder in what ways you could use this gift for the betterment of your own life and the lives of others. For no one lights a lamp and then hides it under a bushel. They place it on a stand so that the whole house can bask in its glory and take advantage of its gifts.

Lillie Oberlender, First Christian Church Chickasha

Pearls of Glory

Where is this parable? Matthew 13:45-46

The Parable of the Pearl is by far one of the most widely known parables with an amazing message, but yet also one of the least followed in this day and age due to its difficulty. It teaches about the importance of giving up the materialistic items of our world with everlasting glory as a promise of return. In our modern-day society, this parable can be one of the most challenging aspects of the gospel. As a teenager living in the twenty-first century, I can say from my own experience that status, wealth, and brand can be one of the main contributing factors to acceptance. I would say that is the most challenging part for not only me, but as well as my close peers and acquaintances. It can be very hard growing up in a society that values what you own over what you have to say, especially when everything around us is spread so easily through social media. Everyone is so quick to judge which phone you have, the car you drive, and the clothes you wear. This parable, however, reminds us to remain humble and value our time with God over everything else. It reminds us to trust in God’s word and remember that it is he who is giving us eternal life, not our earthly objects. Despite the challenges of something that can sometimes seem so foreign and unknown, the Lord constantly reminds us of how much he loves us. He is willing to give us the greatest gift of all, even if we do sometimes find it hard to comply with his wishes.

Trinity Towel, Central Christian Church Fairview

Lent . . .

is one of my favorite seasons in the church year.  I know that sounds a little weird but I like the time it allows to refocus our thoughts and desires away from ourselves and back on our Creator.  Often people do that by giving up something.  Through this sacrifice, we come to understand a little better the sacrifice that Jesus gave up for us.  However, even though giving up chocolate or cokes can be difficult, I don’t think is even compares to giving up one’s life for someone else.  In recent years I have tried adding something to my life to be more like Jesus.  Maybe by walking a mile a day or writing a card of encouragement I can be more like God would like me.  This year however will be different.  I am going to spend time in quiet, in my prayer chair (which was my Grandma Atkinson’s) and spend time reconnect to God.  Hopefully I can quiet my soul and my heart can be more inline with God.

Take delight in the Lord,
and the Lord will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

This doesn’t mean that we will get everything we want, but as we spend time with God our desires will become more like His!  That is my prayer this Lent:  Lord, make my desires your desires! Amen

Pastor Tara Dew, Associate Minister First Christian Church El Reno
Mother of two amazing boys, wife of Curtis, friend to many, and follower of Jesus Christ.