Guts and Gumption!March 13, 2018
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
— Matthew 5:15
In yesterday’s Sparkling Gem, we looked at different ways to shine our light into the darkness and positively influence the world around us. God wants you to be a positive influence in all areas of your life. However, to have the kind of colossal effect that God wants you to have on other people, you cannot hide your God-given gifts, talents, and abilities. Instead you must put them on full display so you can be the blessing God intends for you to be!
With this truth in mind, I want us to look at Matthew 5:15 where Jesus said, “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick….” At first glance, the word “candlestick” in this verse might give the impression of a candle or candlestick like we use today, but these kinds of candles and candlesticks didn’t exist in New Testament times. Rather, the word “candlestick” in Matthew 5:15 is the Greek word luchnia, which refers to an elevated stand on which an oil lamp is placed. These oil lamps were exactly the kind of lamps described in yesterday’s Sparkling Gem.
The word luchnia, or “candlestick” is used 12 times in the New Testament to depict this kind of elevated lamp stand. In fact, it is precisely the word John used in Revelation 1:12 and 13 to describe the “seven golden candlesticks” he saw during his vision of Jesus. When John recorded that he saw Jesus standing in the “midst of the seven golden candlesticks” (v. 13), it meant that Jesus was standing in the middle of seven golden elevated stands that had oil lamps resting on top of them. Some scholars suggest that these seven golden lamps may be a reference to a Jewish menorah. Whether this is true or not is not verifiable by Scripture, but one thing is sure — the Greek word luchnia means these oil-burning lamps were sitting on some kind of elevated stand so they could give maximum light.
During the time of the New Testament, it was customary for homes, palaces, businesses, and public buildings to place brightly burning lamps on pedestals because a higher position provided superior light that could illuminate the entire environment. The higher the lamp, the less darkness in a room. Thus, when Jesus said, “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick…,” He was telling us that we must lift our lamps — our gifts, talents, and personal influence — as high as possible. When they are elevated in a highly visible position, God can use us to “give light unto all that are in the house.”
*[If you started reading this from your email, begin reading here.]
If you keep your light at table level, you’ll illuminate the people around the table. If you keep it in the corner, you’ll illuminate people who are in the corner. But if you lift that same light high, elevate it, put it on a pedestal, and make it visible, it will illuminate everyone in the room where it previously touched only a handful. The amount of light given is the same, but the elevated position of the light makes the light much more effective.
Allow me to share an example from my own life that is integrally tied to the very book you are reading right now. Years ago, I knew God wanted me to write books that would be read around the world. I thought and dreamt about it constantly, but I would also second-guess myself. I would think, Who am I to think people would read something I wrote? Instead of developing my gift and writing books that would shine light into the lives of other people, I only dreamt about it. But one day the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and told me that it was time to quit dreaming and to start actually using my gifts — elevating them and believing in them — so they could become a blessing to people.
If I had never dared to write or to elevate and promote what I had written, it is doubtful that you would have ever discovered the book you are holding in your hands right now. For my dream to come to pass, I had to accept that my light was needed in the lives of other people, and then I had to elevate it out of the shadows and allow God to use it in His perfect timing to edify and bless others.
The truth is that there are many people who are more talented writers than I, but they’re not known because their gifts are still hidden under a bushel and they therefore have not reached a larger audience. Although their skills are tremendous and loaded with power, they remain unknown and will remain unknown until they are willing to do whatever is required according to the Lord’s instruction to elevate those gifts and put them on a lamp stand where they will be seen and appreciated. Only then will they begin to affect more than the small handful gathered around the table or the few who are sitting in their corner, metaphorically speaking.
If your light is going to be a blessing to the world, then you must dare to lift your light high and put in on a pedestal where people will see it and be affected by it. Once you’ve silenced intimidation and made that bold decision, you begin to fulfill your dream of reaching and illuminating a larger audience.
The believers who have influence in the world — such as those who write the songs you sing, the books you read, or the sermons you hear preached on TV — are not necessarily the most gifted, talented, or anointed people. The truth is that they had the nerve to step out by faith to elevate their abilities, regardless of how good or inferior their abilities were, and today they are renowned and influential. They had the guts and gumption to get their light out from under a bushel and let it shine — and that’s why they have influence and not someone else. A great part of their success is due to their willingness to step out from obscurity to let their light begin to shine.
Jesus said, “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house” (Matthew 5:15). Are your gifts, talents, abilities, and influence giving light to the people around you in all spheres of your life, such as your home, your work, your school, or your church? Think of how deeply satisfying it would be for you to know that people were blessed because you let your light shine!
God has given you everything you need to make that kind of difference in the lives of other people. He has given you the oil and the fire of the Spirit, but you are the only one who can decide to put that light out on a lamp stand where it will be a blessing to others. No one can make that decision for you.
So what are you going to do — keep your gifts, talents, and potential influence a secret, or put your light on a pedestal so it can give light to everyone in the house? There’s one thing for sure — a part of the success in God that you dream about will come as a result of your willingness to step out from obscurity and let your light begin to shine!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I know it’s time for me to quit thinking about what I’m going to do and to start doing it. I’ve prayed, dreamed, talked, and thought about stepping out in faith — and now You are telling me that it’s my time to step up and get started. Your Spirit has been tugging at my heart, trying to get me to come out of hiding and into the light, but I’ve been afraid of what would happen if I took a step of faith. It’s time for me to put my fear aside, put my trust in You, and begin to let my light shine. Holy Spirit, help me have the guts and gumption I need to bring my light out from under the bushel so I can begin to shine brighter and further for You!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I will no longer hide in the shadows and conceal the gifts, talents, and abilities that God has given to me. I’ve hidden them for too long — and now I am willingly making the decision to step out of the shadows and put my light in a place where it will be the blessing God intended it to be. God has gifted me and anointed me, and the Holy Spirit is now telling me that it is my time to rise up and shine. The day of timidity and complacency has passed! I now have the guts, gumption, and boldness needed to use my gifts and abilities to God’s glory and to let them illuminate and influence the largest audience possible!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- What are the unique gifts, talents, and special abilities God has given you? What kind of positive impact have you seen when you’ve been bold enough to allow these gifts, talents, and abilities to freely operate?
- Can you think of any individuals whose gifts and talents are not as great as some other people you might know, but because they were daring and bold, they became well-known and influential? What attitudes do they possess that caused them to rise to the top while others remain in obscurity?
- If you keep doing exactly what you’re doing right now, where will you be one year from now? Will your progress be any different? Will your influence have grown if you keep doing exactly what you are doing right now? What do you need to do differently in order to gain more ground?