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Second Thoughts: Lamps, Not Torches

Author: Thomas White | Editorial Department, Living Church of God

“No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light,” said Jesus Christ in Luke 8:16.

Here’s a thought: They had portable torches way before Christ’s ministry. Why didn’t He say, “No one who has lit a torch sticks it under a bed, but waves it around so that everyone can see him”? I mean, we’re supposed to make our spiritual lights obvious, right? Why are we lamps, not torches?

After hearing Mr. Michael DeSimone’s Assembly on how God’s people are making encouraging progress in getting the Gospel to the world, part of that scripture jumped at me in a new way. Mr. DeSimone showed us that when the titles of certain Tomorrow’s World telecasts are changed, made a little more “punchy,” those telecasts start racking up the YouTube views in a way they simply weren’t before. As it turns out, “clickbait” titles are used because people actually do click on them. Furthermore, when ads for free booklets are kept to a minimum on YouTube, Millennials such as myself tend to stick around longer, since we tend to appreciate ads about as much as Dracula would appreciate fresh garlic bread.

What We Have in Common

Those who have lit their spiritual lamps set them on lampstands, Christ said, “that those who enter may see the light.” Hopefully, those entering our houses are doing so because they actually want to be there—they already find us interesting, and want to get to know us better. We’re not to go out and coerce anyone into entering our houses, as if Christ expected us to be all “You will get in my house, you will look at my lamp, and you will like it.” 

When we’re trying to befriend someone, or even convince someone, where do we start? With what we have in common with them, is where. We don’t open with, “Howdy stranger, that sure is some sinful music you seem to be listening to—interested in hearing why it’s completely of the devil?” No, because no one thinking they have nothing in common with you is going to enter your house, and they’ll never see the light of your lamp. 

An Inviting Light

We’re to keep the lamp in the house, where it belongs, letting those who enter see the light—not bring it outside to shove it in unsuspecting faces. After we’ve made friends based on mutual interests, then we can look for opportunities to show them the Gospel in ways that speak to those interests. They’re our friends, or at least our acquaintances—they’ve “entered our house,” so to speak. And once they’re in there, it works even better if they notice the lamp before we point it out, so we can respond to their comments: “Oh, that? That’s my lamp. It’s actually extremely important to me—the most important thing in my life, in fact,” as opposed to, “And over here, you can see my truly amazing lamp, take a closer look, bask in its light, baaaaaaask.

We’re lamps, not torches, because lamps are friendly, even intimate. Torches… well, there’s a reason they’ve often been accompanied by pitchforks. If we strive to reflect God in everything we do, and truly care about preaching His message to the world, we’ll do it in a way that will reach the world—not with the invasive, antagonistic light of a torch, but with the inviting, loving light of a lamp on a stand.