By Scott Rosekrans
Can you imagine living in darkness? Not being blind, but not having light when the sun goes down. You’re living in a tent, a shed, a dilapidated camper, an old motorhome, or your vehicle. You have to conserve your propane for cooking and temporary heat. You have to run your engine to keep the battery from running down but that burns precious gasoline. When the sun goes down your life just couldn’t be any more dark or hopeless as you sit and stare at the houses in the distance all lit up and warm.
I’ve gotten to know many of the homeless that live in and around our community who don’t have the luxury of electricity and I’ve prayed for a way to bring them some light, some hope. God answers prayers. One of my members just returned from a winter trip to California and was visiting his former Rotary Club and they’ve come up with a lighting project to address those living without light. He thought these lights might be something we could give out to our homeless population along with the other things we do, so he brought back several of them for me to look at.
As luck would have it, later that very morning one of the homeless people we’ve been helping came by for some assistance. Pete and Jane (not their real names) live in an old motorhome that has no heat and is in much need of repair. In any event, I asked him if he had any lights in the motorhome. He said he had one battery-powered light, but it didn’t last too long and he tried not to run the motor to save on gas. I showed him one of the lights and his eyes literally lit up. I turned it on and explained to him it was solar-powered and would last several hours without needing a charge. He teared up and said it would be great to have one because he liked to read after Jane went to bed and this way, he could sit up front and not disturb her. I gladly gave out our first light and then we talked about what else he needed.
In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus tells us that we are the light of the world and to let our light shine before men, that they may see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven. People come to our church, and hopefully yours, looking for help and it is heart-wrenching to hear their stories and feel as if there is nothing you can do to ease their pain. Sometimes, just a little ray of light is all it takes to give them hope or, to at least let them know someone sees them and truly cares.
Because there is so much darkness in the world, I don’t think there has been a better time for us to be Christians and to let our light shine before men. The Apostle John tells us in John 1:4,5 that in Him was life, and that life was the light of the world, and that the light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. If, during these times of despair and helplessness, people turn to us for help we must seize the opportunity to guide the lost and searching to the light and we, as the church in their community, is the best place to start.
For more information on these cool little lights, you can go to unitetolight.org
Scott Rosekrans serves as pastor to the people of Community United Methodist Church in Port Hadlock, Washington.