I taught confirmation for 27 years. I would use illustrations that I could find to help the students apply and live out God’s Word. I found that Wayne Rice has a way of telling a story that can be life-defining and life-changing. One of his resources was called “Hot Illustrations for youth talks.” As I was thinking about a topic for this devotion, I thought “what if I would share a couple of those illustrations as a way of reminding each of us… that God hand made us for a purpose. Each of us is uniquely gifted…to fit into a bigger story…the story of God’s Love for us.
A 14th-century Italian stained-glass artist was summoned to design and create a huge portrait for a window in a cathedral in France, a place well known for stained glass work. He laid all the pieces that he was going to use on the floor of the cathedral. They were beautiful to behold. Most of them were large and colorful. Some of the colors from that time cannot even be reproduced today. Among those awesome pieces of glass was a small clear piece about as big as your fingernail. As the stained glass window was assembled, that little piece remained on the floor. Only the big colorful pieces of glass were used.
On the day of the window’s completion, the tiny piece of clear glass was still lying on the ground, unnoticed. The entire city gathered to witness the unveiling of the brilliant and beautiful stained-glass portrait. The artist stood in front of the crowd, made his speech, and dramatically pulled down the cloth cover. The crowd gasped at the beauty of the colorful window glowing in the sunlight.
After a few seconds, however, the crowd grew silent. They sensed that something was missing, that the portrait was unfinished. The great artist then walked over to where that little clear piece of glass lay and picked it up. He placed it in the portrait…right in the center of Jesus’ eye. As the Sun hit that little piece, it gave off a dazzling sparkle. The magnificent stained-glass window still draws visitors. The first thing they see is the sparkle in Jesus’ eye!
So…have you ever…or maybe right now…felt like that little piece of clear glass? Untalented…useless…a disappointment…no purpose…don’t measure up by earthly standards.
Well, think about that stained-glass window. As nice as all the bigger colorful pieces were…. They were meant to be part of a bigger picture…and the picture was unfinished until that smallest and plainest piece did its part.
Don’t compare yourself to others, ask how you fit into God’s masterpiece.
Each one of us is equally important to the body of Christ. (Take time to read 1 Corinthians 12.)
Once upon a time, a little candle stood in a room filled with other candles, most of which were larger and much more beautiful than she was. Some were ornate and others were rather simple like herself. Some were white, and some blue, some pink, some green. She had no idea why she was there, and the other candles made her feel rather small and insignificant.
When the sun went down and the room began to get dark, she noticed a large man walking towards her with a ball of fire on a stick. She suddenly realized that the man was going to set her on fire. No! No! she cried. Aaaaaagghh! Please don’t burn me!” But she knew that she could not be heard and prepared for the pain that would surely follow.
Then, to her surprise, the room filled with light. She wondered where it came from since the man had extinguished the fire stick. To her delight, she realized that the light came from herself. Then the man struck another fire stick, and, one by one lit the other candles in the room. Each gave out light into the darkroom.
During the next few hours, she noticed that slowly her wax began to flow. She became aware that her time to shine was limited. With this realization came a sense of why she had been created. “Perhaps my purpose on Earth is to give out light to those who are in the dark.”. And that’s exactly what she did!
God created you to be you….to produce light into a dark world.
Now…you need to remember that you can only shine your light because God gives you His Light! John 8:12… When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
We need to remember that the tiniest candle will bring light to a dark room. I don’t need to tell you that we live in a very dark world right now.
Who do you know that is “in the dark” and needs you to shine your light, God’s light on them? Matthew 5:16… In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
I love the way the message translation puts this section:
Matthew 5:14-16 (msg)… “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
So, I shared these 2 illustrations with you to remind you that you were hand made by all Loving God…and He never makes junk. You are His masterpiece! Don’t compare yourself to others….He made you!
He has placed each of us where we are…for a time like this…to be used by God to accomplish His plans. To let your light shine…His light shine.
So…take time this week to focus on:
Who you are and whose you are! Psalm 139: 13-18…: For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful; I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.
God gave you His Light for you let your light shine in the darkness!
2 Corinthians 4:5-6… For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
You were created to be part of God’s bigger plan, His masterpiece, His family (His church) and called to encourage one another! Hebrews 10:23-25… Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the day approaching.