September 20, 2021 - Shining Bright - A Reflection on Luke 8:16-18

“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.”

This is a very short passage of only three sentences, and they all seem a little disjointed, as though there isn’t any connection between them, but there is and it makes for some very interesting reflection so let’s take each sentence in turn. The first one says that “No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light” You will find similar passages in Mark 4 and Matthew 5.

There are three aspects of this statement. One, the lighting of the lamp. Two, a shining without any blocks. Three, a noticeable result of the shining. What is the lamp? It’s our lives. Who lights the lamp? God. How does he do this? One, through his word. You might be familiar with Psalms 119:105 which says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Two, by following Jesus who says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

How can this light shine without any blocks? And what are the possible blocks? While Luke speaks about concealing it with a vessel or hiding it under a bed, Mark speaks about hiding it under a bowl, and Matthew under a bushel basket. These represent the cares of the world, which is a caution about letting things of the world conceal the light of Christ reflected in us. The light should shine brightly, to draw others to the light that is Christ, not to glorify us, but to “give glory to our Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Now we come to the second sentence. Jesus says our life, itself, will one day be brought into the light. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, says that “we are co-workers in God’s service” (1 Corinthians 3:9). He then says our work “will be shown for what it is, because the Day (of Judgement) will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames” (1 Corinthians 3:13-15).

And in that statement of his we find the explanation of the third sentence. Jesus tells us to listen—to pay heed. In what is essentially a summation of the Parable of the Talents (see Matthew 25:14–30) he says that those who let their light shine brightly will be rewarded but those who hide their light (in the Parable of the Talents the third man buries his talent, remember?) will lose any hope of a reward.

May your light shine brightly.