It was Saturday and I was sitting once again in the midst of the post-flood chaos at the lake, contemplating all the knick-knacks to be gathered up to prepare for carpet installation next week. My eyes fell on the little antique finger lamp I purchased on E-bay some time ago, and I decided I "needed" to light it. Maybe its golden light would lift my spirits enough to get me moving on the dreaded chore before me. But as I picked it up I realized its wick had burnt down too low to light, and so I began trying to pull it out. My short fingernails were useless for that job, and a straight pin proved just as impotent. The only thing to do was lift it out of its holder, pull it out from underneath, trim it down and start afresh.
I soon realized the job was going to be harder than I anticipated, and so I pulled the kitchen stool over to support my wobbly legs. I'd been listening to praise songs on Pandora for inspiration, and just then I began hearing the beautiful notes of "Carry Your Candle" and I smiled, encouraged in my small effort.
But the difficult part of my task was just beginning. Now I must push the trimmed wick back through the narrow neck of its holder and out the top far enough to allow it to light and burn. This necessarily tight space resisted my pushing and twisting for quite some time, and I began to think of my life these past five-plus years, without a doubt the tightest space I've ever been in. Trimmed away are all the trappings of my "normal" life, all the activity and freedom that once defined me. Now I know that God has allowed all this to "trim my wick" to hear His unmistakable voice in new, deeper, more meaningful ways, and then to pass on what He has shown me.
Eventually, I accomplished my goal, pushed the wick just far enough out to burn brightly, lit it successfully, and smiled. It warmed the rest of my day, and my mind wouldn't let go of the lessons I learned from this sweet little lamp:
1. Its wick had to be painstakingly trimmed, then pushed into the tight place of its holder just far enough; otherwise it was useless. Jesus tells us on the night before His crucifixion, during the Passover meal with His disciples,
"Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." (John 16:33 NLT)
2. The lamp's reservoir needed to have plenty of oil (fuel), and the wick must be soaked in it in order to burn. Our fuel for lighting the world is the Holy Spirit, Who is available to us always from the moment we accept Jesus' death and resurrection as payment for our sins. We'll never run out of fuel!
"But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." (John 14:26 NIV)
3. Do you think my little lamp, once the wick was trimmed and plenty of fuel was provided, lit itself? Of course not! I had to light it with a heat source! This morning I awoke before dawn, just in time to see a golden full moon setting in the west. I thought a few moments before that glowing orb dropped behind the trees, "That moon has no light of its own; it merely reflects the sun, its source." Friends, we must be like that moon, or like my little lamp. We must shine the Light, so painfully won for us on the cross of Calvary. And we find all we need to know about that Source from His Word, the Holy Bible. Please join me in pledging to spend more time in His Word, in order to grow closer and closer to Him each day.
"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Psalm 119:105 KJV)