Jesus, Light of the World.
On top of that hill is an old tree...probably been there for a couple decades or more. I've often commented about its grandeur and how, if given the chance, it might tell stories of days gone by.
I'm certain the old tree would tell of storms its weathered; summers past when the heat parched its thirsty leaves; or describe the deer and other small animals who have sheltered themselves in the shade under its boughs.
Perhaps it would talk about the farmer who used to work this land we now call our neighborhood, or of the early peoples who hunted the woods surrounding.
Yet, sadly, part of the old tree was recently blown down in a sudden storm - branches now lay in a heap next to the nub of its split base. Its days are over and now has become a memory of what used to be.
I liken that old tree to those who once stood firm for things they believed in - God, country, faith, and family. Sadly, that time is passing quickly and less sturdy ideals are taking its place.
God told us in His Word there would come a day when men would no longer put up with sound teaching. He said in 2 Timothy 4:3b, "Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear."
He described a time when folks would be "lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash..." and so on. Sadly, this describes the time in which we live.
Yet, don't despair. We have hope! Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12
Because His light shines within those of us who follow Him, then we, too, are "the light of the world". Jesus compared us to a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. It is our job to "let our light shine before men, that they may see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven."
Just as that old tree near my house was a fixture on the hill representing life and history, Jesus is the One whom we should fix our eyes upon as our Savior and Perfector of our faith.
So, this week as we start afresh, let us shine our light in a darkened world that others may also know the peace of Christ and His steady, unchanging foundation.