By Rand Kreycik
I love lighthouses. I’ve threatened to drag my family on trips to see every lighthouse in New England, for example, or on the Great Lakes (there are dozens!). They like them too, and would probably follow me gladly, only beginning to complain after the 100th or so!
Why are lighthouses such a draw? I’ve been contemplating them lately and understanding what a strong spiritual picture they give us of our life in Christ. One needs only to understand the purpose of these vital sentinels to begin to see the parallels.
What is the number one job of a light keeper? To make sure the beacon never, never goes out! You see, in the days before reliable radio communication, those shafts of blazing light, piercing the darkness, often meant the difference between making it to safe haven or facing a watery grave on unseen rocky shoals. To mariners, the light shouted, “Stay back; there’s danger here!” And it spoke comforting words: “Here is the way to safety!”
Jesus told his disciples, “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16, ESV) In this same passage, he warned believers not to put their light under a basket. That would be absurd and go against what the light was made for.
We are light keepers, and our bodies (these transitory dwellings) are lighthouses! That’s the truth that has been animating me now for weeks. It makes sense. What’s my most vital job, besides simply loving God with my whole heart? It’s loving my neighbor by shining Light and speaking Truth into his or her life. It’s keeping the light lit in my heart (staying powerfully connected to my Father through his Word and prayer). It’s shining that light as brilliantly as I can – making sure the lenses of this lighthouse (the body that has been loaned to me) are kept pure, clean, polished, never blocking the light. Jesus also told us, “The eye is the lamp of the body.” (Matthew 6:22, ESV) and that we are to watch what enters these lenses. What goes in is what will come out. Evil will cloud our lenses and dim the light.
I’ll spend the rest of my life contemplating this powerful picture, but each day it helps me to understand that I am a light keeper, my body is a lighthouse of which I’m the steward, my eyes are the lenses through which the light shines to those lost in the darkness and storms of life. They need to see the light! They need to see the danger coming their way! They need to see the way to safety. They need to see the way home.