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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Evans

Let Your Lower Lights Be Burning

Two years ago during chapel service at my alma mater, the conductor of our assembly told us a story that inspired the classical hymn “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning” that made me ponder and reflect on my life in Christ; it went like this:

“On a dark and tempestuous night, when not even a star was visible, a ship was approaching the harbor of Cleveland, with a pilot on board. The captain, noticing only one light as they drew near — that from the lighthouse —asked the pilot if he was quite sure that it was Cleveland harbor, as other lights should have been burning at the harbor mouth. The pilot replied that he was quite sure, whereupon the captain inquired: “Where are the lower lights?”
“Gone out, sir,” replied the pilot.
“Can you make the harbor, then?” asked the captain, to which the pilot answered:
“We must, sir, or we perish.”
Bravely the old man steered the vessel upon her course toward safety. But alas! In the darkness of the harbor mouth he missed the channel, the ship struck upon many rocks, and in the stormy waters many lives were lost.”

The meaning of the story represents God and His children in the midst of the world covered in darkness. The beaming lighthouse in this story is our Master, and the lower lights that were not burning represents us Christians. Throughout the pages of scripture, God told us how important it is for His servants to brightly shine like stars in this dark world to guide them safely to Jesus and to keep people from perishing (Philippians 2:15).

Remember, no one doesn’t light a candle only to place it under the sofa, but they display it on top of the table so that those who walk in may see. The Good Teacher stressed that we are the light of the world, a city on a hill that cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14-16). Therefore, how are we keeping our lower lights burning? Are we conducting ourselves in a godly way, or merely blending in with the world? Are we sharing the saving message of Jesus, or keeping it to ourselves?

The whole point of Christianity is to not only renounce our shameful ways, but to pull the world out of bondage. To give sight to the people who have been blinded by sin; to make them see the light of the gospel of the glorious Messiah. We are not here for ourselves, but for the Lord. “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” to those who are perishing (2 Corinthians 4:1-6).

It is not enough for us to merely say we love Jesus in our bios on social media, but then live so contrary to His word. It is not enough to make friendships with people, but never tell them about Jesus and His church. It is not enough to just go on mission trips to other countries, but then ignore the area in which we live. It is not enough to invite people to church, but never sit down and have a bible study with them. It is not enough to only open our bibles on Sundays, but never drown ourselves in it throughout the rest of the week and meditate on it.

The harvest is abundant, my dear readers. We are surrounded by fields that need the watering message of Christ. We are surrounded by ships trying to make their way safely to shore. So are your lower lights burning daily? We must keep them burning, or the ships trying to make their way to the Lighthouse will perish.

Hymn of the day:

Let the Lower Lights Be Burning

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