The Flashlight

by

Contributed by Tim White, Next Gen Pastor of Image Church

The flashlight is one of the most used and well-known tools around today.  We all should have at least one flashlight in our homes, as well as one in an emergency kit in our car. To a young child, a flashlight is one of the greatest toys ever made. Have you ever watched a child play with a flashlight? Well, I just gave you my secret. I just hand out flashlights. A flashlight will keep them occupied for hours.  But have you ever truly thought about how a flashlight works?

The flashlight is made up of three parts:

  1. The body or casing,
  2. The on/off switch which turns the light on and off, and
  3. The light bulb which lights-up when turned on. 

The flashlight really is quite simple, yet used for many things. It is important to have when the power goes out in your home, or your car breaks down on the side of the road at night, or just to occupy your children when they get out of control.  But is a flashlight useful by itself?  A flashlight without power is useless to us. We might as well just throw it away. The importance of a flashlight is to give light where there is none. For a flashlight to be able to do this, it needs some kind of power source. Most flashlights get their power from batteries. A flashlight with batteries becomes one of the most important tools to have. 

For the last few weeks, I have been expositing the book of Philippians, written by Paul from a prison, to the church in Philippi. The last couple of days, I have been working through this passage and trying to make sense of what God is saying through Paul, to His people in Philippi, and to us today.

Philippians 2:14-18 – Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 15that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.  18Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

We are to do all things without grumbling or questioning, that we may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation.  And why is that important?  Because we are to shine as lights to the crooked and twisted generation that we live in.

A couple of weeks ago while teaching our 5th and 6th grade Discovery Land class, we got on the topic of being a light to others and the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. There were a lot of questions, and I wondered if I was getting my point across to them. As I was thinking of a way to help them understand it, Sam, one of our Discovery Land children, spoke-up and said, “So what you’re saying is that we are like flashlights, and Jesus is the batteries”.  I quickly replied, “exactly!”  He got it, and I couldn’t have come-up with a better way to describe it.  We are God’s flashlights, and Jesus is the battery. Without Jesus, we are worthless and good for nothing.

Paul goes on to say that we are to hold fast to the word of life.  The word is what gives life and truth. It is what keeps us charged and is what should shine out from us. “So that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.  Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.”

Paul was saying to do all of this so that when Jesus comes back for His people, He can be proud, knowing that all of His hard work and labor were not done in vain.  Paul knew all to well what it was like to be a flashlight for God – to the point of willing to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of the faith of others.

A drink offering, illustrated here by Paul, is familiar in both the Old Testament and Greco-Roman culture. It involves pouring out old wine, either onto the ground, or as Paul is referring to here, on an altar along with an animal or grain sacrifice. It was a vivid illustration of a life “poured out” for God’s service. Paul poured out his life as a light to this dark and twitted world. He was calling the church in Philippi to do the same, so that they can all rejoice together on the day our Lord Jesus returns.

God is calling us to do the same today:

  • To live as God’s flashlights in this dark and twisted world,
  • To live a life “poured out” for God’s service, and
  • To train-up and encourage others to do the same.

…all so that on the day of Christ’s return, we can all rejoice together!

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: