You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:14-16
It was a great idea that just got better. Thomas Edison had a really great idea when he invented the light bulb. I love that history records that he failed in his first 10,000 attempts. Of course, he was quick to correct anyone who said that. He simply told them he didn’t fail 10,000 times, he just learned 10,000 ways not to do it. The light bulb simply changed life in America and over the years it has continue to evolve. First, it just got better. The life expectancy of a bulb in the early years was pretty poor—about 14.5 hours. But over the years it got better and better.
More than several years ago a radical change happened. Someone mass produced the compact fluorescent bulb. These were revolutionary. They burned for a much longer time, they were much cooler and they were much cheaper to operate. The equivalent of a 60 watt bulb would only consume about 8 or 9 watts. That’s a big difference. While they were expensive to buy at first, the price came down pretty quickly. And then the prom queen of light bulbs arrived…the LED or light emitting diode bulb burst on the scene.
When LED’s first came out they were barely bright enough to use in a watch. Now they light the highways with headlights and streetlights. They are amazing. And the most amazing thing—they only consume a couple of watts of energy. They literally cost pennies a day to operate. An added bonus is that they last a really long time. If you look at the package, you will read they are supposed to burn for 22,000 hours. That figures out to about 916 days. Whoa! That sounds impressive but is it really?
You see, I have discovered that while the LED may last that long, often the electronics in the base don’t. I have had LED bulbs that didn’t make it six months. But there is a secret. Regardless, if it is an old fashioned incandescent bulb, or a compact florescent bulb or a LED bulb the more often you turn it on and off—the shorter the life span. Yup—its the truth. I have some LED lights in my bathroom that have been burning 24 hours a day, seven days a week for over 14 months and they are still going strong. Ok, you’re probably wondering why would I do that?
Well, 14 months ago I remodeled our bathroom. It had lights on each side of the vanity mirror. The light fixtures had switches to turn the light on and off. Well, the new fixtures didn’t. So I said to myself, “Who needs a switch? It costs a few pennies a day to burn the bulb and I don’t have to try and figure out how to install a switch and I don’t ever walk into a dark bathroom. So, there you go! Problem solved. And light the Energizer bunny—they keep right on burning.
As I was pondering all of this, it occurred to me this is why some Christians burn out and some Christians keep right on burning. You see, just like the light bulb, we last a lot longer when we are consistently on. Believers who are on again and off again just tend to burn out. First, things like prayer and reading the Bible slip away and then going to church and where that light once burned bright—only an unlit bulb remains…dark and cold. Yet those who make it a priority to stay on—to keep that appointment and read the Book and daily talk with our Dearest Daddy and make it a point to make church the priority on our calendar—they just seem to last and last. And it is no accident. It just makes sense. Jesus said that we are the light of the world—reflecting His light to a dark world. And when we do the right things—it reflects so well on Him.
Well, I don’t know if I will ever install a switch or not. I kinda like walking into a lit room. Actually, we have eight or nine lights in our house that never get turned off. All are LEDs and all cost a few cents to burn and all chase the darkness away. I like that. And then there’s always the, “I wonder just how long they will burn” challenge. Who knows, there might be a record out there somewhere. But I’ll only find out if I leave it on. And that is true with our Jesus walk too. We need to rise to the challenge and see just how long we can burn brightly—for Him. The best way to start is to remove the option, the switch. The next step is to determine you are going to trust Him to help you keep burning bright. He will, you know. He’s got this.