It was a warm evening in June. I was a young dad, sitting in a lawn chair, holding my baby boy on my lap. My wife and I had just rented an old house with a big yard. Her uncle along with his wife and two, young daughters had dropped by to pay us a visit. As we adults sat outside, sipping iced tea, and watching the sun go down, the two girls raced around the yard, laughing, yelling, and trying their best to catch lightening in a jar.
The lightening was lightening bugs, of course. Dozens of fireflies were floating freely around the yard, moving slowly, but always just evading their pursuers. Soon my young cousins got me to join in the hunt and we safely captured two of the little shiners and put them in a mason jar with a lid on it. We sat and watched them blink on and off for a long time. Finally, one of the girls looked at me and said, “They look sad. We should let them go.” I slowly opened the lid and we watched as they flew away to freedom. Then we laughed and sang several verses of the song: “This little light of mine. I’m going to let it shine.”
As I think back on that night so many years ago it makes me remember all the times I have kept my own light sealed in the mason jar of my soul instead of sharing it with the world. Fear, anger, jealousy, and doubt have made me hide my light so many times over the years. It has taken me a long time to see that like those lightening bugs God wants all of us to shine our light as bright as we can, as long as we can, and every single chance that we can.
Don’t let fear keep you from shining your light. Don’t let this world keep you from living your love. God loves you so much. God meant for you to shine. Share your love then. Be kind. Help others. Do good. Bring joy. Make your life a beacon for all the world to see. Take all that lovely light within you and “let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”