Today’s Challenges: Lower lights


I read an interesting historical fact the other day. It seems that the Statue of Liberty was used as the United States’ first Electric Lighthouse. It was used from 1886 until 1902 when it was decommissioned because it wasn’t bright enough, (Ripley’s Believe it or not).

There are lots of reverences to light and light shining in the scripture. John writes that one of the reasons the world rejects Jesus is that he is a light that shines in the darkness and the world loves darkness because it hides their evil deeds.

Of course there is the passage in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. In that passage Jesus tells us, to let our light shine and not hid it under a bushel, so that it gives light to everyone. Many of you probably sang the song about that passage as children, “This little light of mine”.

Light is used to light the path (life) of people so that they can better see Jesus and what he would have for their lives. Light is used to keep people safe and protect them who love to do evil deeds in the dark. Notice what Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16: “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. “

We were singing a very old hymn in services the other evening that paints a great picture of what light is suppose to do, to protect and rescue the lost. I remember singing this song as a youth and it always reminds me of what a light, a lighthouse or our lives are suppose to do. Notice the words of the hymn, “Let the lower lights be burning” by P.P Bliss, written in 1871.

“Brightly beams our Father’s mercy from His lighthouse evermore,

But to us He gives the keeping of the lights along the shore.

Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!

Some poor struggling, sinking sailor you may rescue, you may save.

Dark the night of sin has settled, loud the angry billows roar;

Eager eyes are watching, longing, for the lights, along the shore.

Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!

Eager eyes are watching, longing, for the lights, along the shore.

Trim your feeble lamp, my brother, some poor sailor tempest tossed,

Trying now to make the harbor, in the darkness may be lost.

Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!

Trying now to make the harbor, some poor sailor may be lost.”

Whether a true story or not I do not know, but D.L. Moody told this regarding the song: “On a dark, stormy, night, when the waves rolled like mount­ains, and not a star was to be seen, a boat, rock­ing and plung­ing, neared the Cleve­land har­bor. “Are you sure this is Cleve­land?” asked the cap­tain, see­ing only one light from the light-house. “Quite sure, sir,” re­plied the pi­lot. “Where are the low­er lights?” “Gone out, sir.” “Can you make the har­bor?” “We must, or per­ish, sir!” And with a strong hand and a brave heart, the old pi­lot turned the wheel. But alas, in the dark­ness he missed the channel, and with a crash upon the rocks the boat was shiv­ered, and ma­ny a life lost in a wat­ery grave.”

No matter how dark our world becomes, God still shines out his light from above. Let’s do a better job of shining our lights on earth! It is our duty to keep the “lower lights” shining to help guide those who are lost.

By Russ Lawson

Today’s Challenges

Russ Lawson is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with his column Today’s Challenges. He is semi-retired and an elder at the Mid-County Church of Christ. He can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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