Blessed… This Little Light of Mine

You are the light of the world. A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on top of a lamp stand, and it shines on all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16, Common English Bible).

I initially planned for this reading was going to move in a bit of a different direction but when I was looking for the picture I was going to use for this post. As I was looking I encountered a picture tied to a blog post that said, “Why This Little Light of Mine is a Terrible Song.” I went to the blog and what I read immediately changed my mind about this post. If you want to read it I will save you the trouble of looking. Here is the URL:

I confess, I didn’t read Barrett’s whole post and perhaps I should have but his initial argument annoyed me and I stopped. The initial argument he claims makes “This Little Light of Mine” a terrible song focuses on the word “Little.” He claims that Jesus didn’t come to place a little light inside of us and instead it is a big light.

That little light is exactly what makes this song attractive to me. I still remember in my Navy days, standing watch on the bridge of the USS Mt. Whitney and looking up at the night sky and seeing more stars than one could see just about anywhere on land. Or, to look out from this ship that when standing on a pier and looking up towers over you and at see you look out twelve miles in any direction and see nothing but water and feel the ship bouncing around like a toy boat in a bathtub. If you haven’t been there you might not understand but the word I have often used for it is, insignificant. All those stars and all those planets. When compared to the universe, even the planet I am on, the planet that helps those feelings of insignificant exist is, itself, insignificant.

When we start to see ourselves as insignificant it doesn’t take long for ideas to creep into our heads like, “Because I am just one person and I am insignificant, what can I do?” It might even make me think about that little light I have in me is exactly what Barrett argues, insignificant.

But do you know what? I learned another lesson in the Navy that seems to apply here. Back in those days I was a smoker (no this isn’t about not smoking and it isn’t something I am proud to have done). At night we couldn’t light a cigarette outside because the light from that cigarette lighter or that match could be seen for miles. Even to smoke outside at night was discouraged because the glow of the coal could be seen. If something as insignificant as the flame of a cigarette lighter or the glow of the coal from a cigarette can be seen from miles away, that little light isn’t so significant after all.

For those who haven’t been in an environment light that, think about this. It is 10:00 P.M. and a storm is raging outside and suddenly the lights go out. Having learned proper lessons from the Boy Scouts you are prepared and know the location of a candle and matches. You light first the match and then the candle. The little light from the candle makes all the difference. Can you see enough to follow a cookbook recipe? Probably not. Can you see well enough to read a typical Bible? Again, probably not. But with that one candle in a normal size room you can see your way to move around the room safely. With that one candle you can see the faces of most of those in the room. That one seeming insignificant light makes a very significant difference.

The same is true for the light in the song and the light in our lesson for the day. I am one person. Can I really make a difference? If people see the light of Christ, the Light of the World shining from you in your community, in a dark world, you will make a difference today and always.

“This little light of mine. I’m going to let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”

How do you let your little light shine in the world? You are not insignificant and neither is your light, little though it may be. You matter. Let your light shine.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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