Through a Lens
Every day, Alan traveled with his father down to the southern coast a few miles outside the town of Dundee. His family was entrusted with the task of caring for an old lighthouse that stood out on the rocky coast of Scotland. There, his father taught Alan how to maintain the equipment, refuel the lamp, and polish the lenses. His father taught him the skills of his work just as his father had done and his father before that. Alan would one day inherit the responsibility of maintaining the lighthouse to warn the ships about the danger of the rocks below. He learned the significance of burning the fuel at the proper rate and making sure that the wick was trimmed regularly, but above all he learned the vital importance of keeping the lenses clean of soot. His father emphasized, “Alan, without a clean lens, a lighthouse is useless. No matter how bright the light burns, if the lenses are clouded, the ships out there will never be able to see it. Always keep it polished because you never know when a ship is watching for us.”
This past May at National Convention I ran with a message: Legacy. Defined, legacy is essentially the influence or impact left by an individual. My challenge was for us to think about what other people see about us and whether it reflects Christ or ourselves. But how do we shape our influence? How do we reflect glory to Christ?
Like a lighthouse, Christians are to shine the light of Christ into the darkness. We are called to point others to Christ and in “speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show others an example of those who believe.” Is the way we act glorifying God and pointing others toward Him? Is our attitude one of thankfulness and joy? How about purity? What are our minds focused on, and what are the things we are looking at? Would God be pleased with our thoughts, and would they point others toward him?
In other words, are our actions and thoughts clouding or polishing the lens of our life? If we have the light of Christ in us but don’t keep our ways right before God, how will our light shine through if it is clouded through our impure actions?
One way we can reflect Christ is through how we talk. James 1:26 says that “If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.” This not only applies to profanity, but to every other aspect of how we talk about and with others.
We will often debate whether something is really that “bad,” or instead use strong “slang” words. However, as Paul said, “all things are lawful, but not all things edify.” We often view the issue concerning how we should talk in the wrong way. We spend too much time trying to justify “the line” between where using profanity or gossiping is sinful and where it’s okay…not necessarily good, but just “okay.” We should not measure things by how much we can slip by with, but instead by how it brings glory to God and points others toward him. A lighthouse’s lenses should not be cleaned with the “okay” standard, but to the highest standard. Is using profanity or “sounds like” slang words really edifying?
Christ has called Christians to live a life glorifying to God. That was the whole reason that we were created. We, as the church, must keep each other accountable and make sure that our lights are not only burning bright, but that they have clean lenses to shine through. We must “always keep it polished because we never know when a ship is watching for us.”