Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:16-18 NKJV
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Ephesians 5:1-2 NKJV
Over the summer I had the opportunity to go on a weekend camping trip with my family. We try to go camping at least once a year. It is a good activity to get away from our busy lives, technology, and spend time in nature to relax, soak in the beauty of God’s creation, and focus on bonding with family and God. There are so many lessons we can learn simply by looking at nature. One of those lessons came to me while on this summer camping trip.
Let me first share a little story of God’s goodness. When we go camping we usually bring a canoe and stay in a tent. Because of this we like to have a camping site next to the lake where we can launch the canoe directly into the water. We also like to have a grassy patch in which to pitch the tent to serve as a softer sleeping surface. When we arrived at the camp we noticed that it was busier that we had hoped; all the lake side sites were taken. Bummer! But we don’t complain, instead we decided to find an inland site that is somewhat private. We found a site and had started to resolve ourselves to that fact we would need to carry the canoe to the lake in order to use it. Before we unpacked everything we decided to send one of my brothers to scout if there were any better sites than the one we had just chosen. He came back and said there was a site across the road from the lake where we wouldn’t need to walk as far and it was still fairly private. I decided to go back with him to make sure it would work. We looked at the site and it seems fine, but then we looked up and the site across the street was now open! We both quickly ran over to the site and saw that the previous campers had just packed up and left. The site was OPEN! I sent him back to the rest of the family and we moved to the new site. It had everything we could ask for, a soft grassy spot for the tent, a little landing area for the canoe, and the sites on either side were closed so we had all the privacy we needed. Our God is awesome! It may seem like a small thing, but it is wonderful to know that the God we serve cares about even the small details. We need to thank and praise Him in all things, big and small.
Now for a lesson from nature. On the first night as it began to get dark we prepared to go to sleep. First, it is important to understand that our tent is almost ten years old and doesn’t work very well. The zipper on the “front door” is broken thus it didn’t close at all. After situating our sleeping bags and settling down to sleep, my dad and myself found the light of the Moon beaming into our eyes through the open tent flap. The light was bright and there was no way we were going to be able to fall asleep this way. I used the zipper sliders to hold the flap in such a way that it blocked the light from entering the tent. As I climbed back into my sleeping bag it occurred to me how we should be like the Moon. As we lay there trying to fall sleep we all discussed this idea.
In non-scientific terms the Moon is a massive rock covered in countless craters that revolves around Earth. On a clear night when we can see the Moon best, it provides a decent amount of light. We may take pictures of the Moon and some people use a telescope to survey the surface. At least once, we’ve all probably said, “The Moon is nice and bright tonight”. However, during the day when we are warmed by the rays of the Sun, rarely do we notice the Moon. The blinding light of the Sun draws all our attention and though the moon is visible, it often goes unnoticed. We read in Genesis that God created both forms of light, one to rule the day and one to rule the night. But what if we removed the Sun from the equation? Would we still see the Moon? No, we wouldn’t. The light we see coming from the Moon is simply light from the Sun being reflected off its surface. The Moon is void of any ability to generate its own light.
How does this parallel with us as humans? What can we learn from the Moon? See, just like the Moon, we are also flawed having committed countless sins and being imperfect. We have no ability of our own to do good. All the good we do is because of the character of God in us. As Christians, we are called to be a reflection of God’s character, His love, care, joy, and light in the dark places of the world. We are to reflect the light of the Son and remember that it is because of Him that we have the ability to shine in the first place. As the Moon cannot glory in providing light at night, we should not take any glory for ourselves. Let us direct all praise and honor to Him who is worthy and take none for ourselves. Like the Moon we should fade into the background and let the light of the Son shine ever brighter taking all of the attention. It is humbling to know that in all of our imperfections God still uses us to be His messengers of love, joy, and hope.
It is my prayer that we can all remember to be humble, taking no credit for our good deeds. That we can remember why we’re here and be filled with a sense of purpose. Whenever you’re interacting with people remember to be a reflection of the character of God. It is Him that we represent and we wouldn’t want to misrepresent how great and loving He is.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 NKJV
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