Wednesday, March 3, 2010

shine your light--people notice.

Today in my News Reporting class we were discussing the new Arkansas Lottery Scholarship. My professor was explaining how she is opposed to it, because most people who are awarded it end up dropping out of school, and those who qualify for it and are going to actually finish their degrees aren't staying in the state to go to school anyway. Somehow that led to an argument on whether or not you need a college degree "to live a good life." My professor said, and I quote, "You will live a burger-flipping life if you don't go to college these days." Can't say I completely agree with that, since one of my best friends didn't finish school, and he is in full-time ministry as a worship pastor. My professor also said that "living paycheck to paycheck sounds too stressful, and she wouldn't be happy if she had to do that." So basically, most of our discussion concluded with the idea that money+status=good life.

I sat there listening, and I chimed in here and there, if nothing else to make the point that my dad is in ministry, we've never had much money, definitely lived "paycheck to paycheck," and I have a great life. For most of this discussion, I was just listening and thinking, "what if all of these people knew Jesus?" How different would that talk have been? If we had all said, "you know what--God provides. Regardless of education, class, race, gender... nothing is beyond him." Because that's what I was thinking, but I know I was the only one in the room with that perspective. I sat there thinking, gosh, I really wish everyone knew Jesus. What a world that would be. Although I guess that would be heaven.

JR has been preaching a lot about the Kingdom lately, and how we're supposed to bring the Kingdom to our world and be a living testament of the truth. I've been trying to challenge myself to do that. Today I had a moment when I was able to see that people actually notice when we're shining a light that they don't have. I was in the production room, working on the sports page, and my editor said, "Sara, you are the most light hearted and happy-go-lucky person I've ever known." Another one of the editors chimed in and said, "I know, I wish I was like that. How do you do it?" The truth is, it's Jesus. And the cool thing is that they SEE that. They don't understand it--it's something that they know they don't have, but they want it. That really challenged me to shine that light all the time. People notice.

And the reality is, people notice when we're claiming a faith but not looking any different than anyone else. That's something that Christians don't take seriously enough. People are watching us to see how we react when life gets hard. There's a song by Hillsong called "Desert Song" and the last verse is so powerful. It says:

This is my prayer in the harvest, when favor and providence flow.
I know I'm filled to be emptied again, the seed I've received I will sow.

I love that song. I wanted so badly to play it in class today and say, "this is why you don't need to worry about money... this is why God is so much bigger than any worldly thing that you think can make you happy... my God is the God who provides." This song is the reason that as Christians we don't need to lose our joy when life gets hard... we have a reason to sing. And when we shine a light at times when most people would exude darkness, people notice. And they say, I want what you have.

Take a listen yourself...