“One goes out — and they all go out!”
This is perhaps the most frustrating aspect of working with Christmas lights. For the whole string of lights to shine brightly and beautifully they ALL need to be in healthy working order. If one light goes out, the whole string suffers.
God has created us to live in closed circuit community, where we all share a mutual life together and to a healthy degree share each others’ trials and triumphs. If one of us gets hurt, our whole ‘family’ should feel the pain. If one of us makes a bad choice, our entire groups’ reputation is brought into question. If one of us celebrates a victory — a great accomplishment — we all share the joy together.
What if we really are as connected and interdependent as a string of fragile Christmas lights? What does that mean for the way we treat each other? The way we reach out to one another in tough times? The way we hold each other accountable and help each other live up to a higher calling than the rest of the world?
A few thoughts and challenges:
(1) No One’s an Island. We need to realize that none of us are an island; what we do with our lives does NOT only affect ourselves. We are connected to many other people – parents, siblings, friends, pastors, teammates – and our life DOES affect them all for good or bad. “If one member suffers, everyone suffers with it. If a member is honored, all rejoice with it” (1 Cor 12).
(2) Help Those Burned Out. We need to be aware of those who are currently “burned out” or are experiencing tough times. We need to look at those to our right and left and see where God’s light is currently shining most powerfully and receive some light from them. “For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow toward us, so also our comfort through Christ overflows to you” (1 Cor 1:5).
(3) We all shine in different colors. We each are created uniquely in God’s image with different gifts and strengths. We need to find our unique gifts and play our irreplaceable roles in our group. “God has placed each of the members in the body just as he decided…The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you,” nor in turn can the head say to the foot, “I do not need you” (1 Cor 12). We all need each other for the diversity of gifts we all bring to the community.
(4) We all shine brighter and more beautifully together than we do as lone individuals. Think of a magnificent light display on the houses you drive past this month. It is the complete picture that paints such a beautiful picture. A lone Christmas light on the end of a roof wouldn’t turn heads, but when they are all carefully strung together and choreographed to music they capture a lot of attention on YouTube.
So? Let’s strive to become a group of Christians who live in the light, plugged into the life of God, energized daily by the power of the Spirit, keeping each other lit and all working together as one to shine brightly into the darkness of a broken and hurting world!