Be the Candle
Have you noticed how many superhero movies there are to watch? Hollywood continually produces films starring DC and Marvel lead characters—such as Spiderman, X-Men, and Captain America—and they invariably become blockbuster hits.
Why are these films so successful? Because the plots resonate with people. Usually, the movies are about a normal individual who discovers that there is something extraordinary about them, and that their superpower destines them to save the world. Who doesn’t identify with that desire?
As Christians, we crave the same thing. We want the world to see Christ in us, and we want to spectacularly change the world for the better. But it isn’t always our destiny to change the world in that way. Sure, some Christians are meant to be fireworks, doing things that are flashy and seen by many. But most Christians are meant to be candles, dispelling the darkness for only one person.
Who is the person you’re holding the candle for? For me, it is my widowed mother. God wants me to care for her in her old age, as dementia slowly steals away her faculties and makes her helpless to look after herself.
Why does God want me to do this thankless, difficult, and invisible job? Because of who He is. He is the “defender of widows.” It’s part of His identity.
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” (Psalm 68:5)
If God is asking you to look after your mother, then God is using you as an instrument to be Himself here on earth. He is actively, every day, continuously defending your mother in her time of need. And you are part of His great work here on earth. That is, if you choose to be.
That’s right. The choice is yours. You don’t have to do as you’re asked. You can tell God that you want to wait for the opportunity to be the firework—to write the bestselling Christian book, to go on talk shows, to have a million followers—in order to point others to Christ.
The problem with that is you may never be asked to do that. Jesus said that whoever can be trusted with little can also be trusted with much. Can you be trusted to simply hold the candle for someone? Then persevere in it, until the job is done! You are doing a task that is very near and dear to the heart of Almighty God. You may not be lighting the sky with the brightness of your task, but you are changing the world. You are changing the world for a person who, though others may have forgotten, God has not.
And when you question your purpose in this world, wondering how changing a diaper or dispensing a pill could possibly impact the world, just know that God sees this, and is pleased. Know that you are practicing religion in its truest, purest form:
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
Remember, it is the humble flame that ignites the fireworks!
“For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.”
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?”