“Jacob’s Ladder,” was a 1980’s hit written by Bruce Hornsby and performed by Huey Lewis and the News. Remember them?
The song was set in Birmingham, Alabama, and married the Biblical image of Jacob’s ladder with someone who rejects a proselytizing evangelist, preferring to struggle through life one day at the time. In part the lyrics go like this.
I met a fan dancer
Down in Southside Birmingham
She was running from a fat man
Selling salvation in his hand
Now he’s trying to save me
When I’m doing all right
The best that I can
The problem the song presented was expressed this way:
“Mister, I’m not in a hurry
And I don’t want to be like you.”
While most people won’t admit it, they are thinking it. They’re not interested in committing their lives to Christ, unless they see Christ in your life.
In one of the great texts of the Bible, Jesus used the metaphor of light to make this point.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.“ (Matt 5:14-16, ESV)
Christians are be a light in a sin darkened world. We are commanded to “walk as children of light (Eph. 5:2). To be a “guide to the blind and a light to those in darkness” (Rom 2:19). And “to shine as lights in the world in a crooked and depraved generation” (Phil. 2:15). Author Joseph Aldrich in Life-Style Evangelism, put it like this: “Christians are to be good news before they share the good news.”
All of these exhortations to Christians can be summed in one word, one value, one directive—Influence! God wants us to influence those in darkness. Our Christian influence is a light in a world or moral darkness. And God wants us to influence others.
Think about the value of light. Light is meant to be seen. To shine. To shine brightly. To shine conspicuously. To shine constantly, To shine usefully. That is the kind of light we are to be. A light that does not shine is of no value. Hide it under a bushel? NO! I’m going to let it shine!
How? By my good works. By living differently than the world. By serving others. By talking, acting and dressing in a way that glorifies God and points the way to Jesus.
A light guides. I like to carry a flash light when I travel. When I’m staying somewhere unfamiliar, it is very helpful to guide me down a dark hallway. A Christian light serves as a guide in a world that is groping in darkness. We can guide people to see Jesus. Learn about Him. And obey His gospel.
A light can also warn. It may say “”danger ahead.” “Caution.” “Stop.”” Our light also can serve as a warning to the world that something is wrong. It can shine in our social circle. At work. In our neighborhood. In the dorm at college.
Wherever we are, our Christian light can be seen. Shining bright. Guiding. Directing. Even warning. Remember “you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”
Don’t be like the fat man “selling salvation” that no one wants to be like. Remember, “You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of the darkness.” (1 Thess. 5:5)
Indeed, “the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.” (Prov 4:18)
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman