DON’T TURN THE LIGHT OFF Andy Hollifield 8-30-18
Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
In 1986 a year after hiring The Richards Group, an advertizing agency from Dallas, the Motel 6 chain hired NPR radio personality Tom Bodett to do voice over on their new ad campaign. While in the studio recording the first commercial, Bodett ad-libbed the now famous last line; “We’ll leave the light on for you.” Over thirty years and numerous awards later, the chain is still using that line. It has even been awarded by Advertizing Age magazine as one of the top 100 ad campaigns of the twentieth century. Now, Tom Bodett is known as the Motel 6 guy and upon hearing that famous last line, almost everyone can tell you who it is representing.
The thought behind that ad is that they want you to come in and stay with them and they will leave the light on so you can find your way. The scripture above was spoken by Jesus prior to his ascension. He was wanting his disciples and other believers to understand the seriousness of their role before their fellow-man. He was wanting them to realize that they were taking over the position he had occupied as the light of the world. Here we are over 2000 years later and now we are the ones in that position. In this world of darkness and chaos, are we shining brightly enough to be seen? When an unsaved person is being tossed on life’s sea and ravaged, are we that beacon, or porch light, that can be clearly seen and be welcoming and comfortable to weary travelers on life’s highway?
As I heard this verse and this example mentioned by Pastor Terry Sprouse in church Wednesday night, it got me to thinking about how bright our light is shining. Are we really leaving the light on in this world for folks to come to the saving knowledge of God’s grace? Can the world really see Jesus in me? It is something to think about.
I have heard a lot of blame assigned to the generation before me for the way things are today. Everything from the civil rights movement to the hippie era of the ’60’s and ’70’s could be blamed in part. I have also heard the blame placed on the advent of television, the birth of Rock and Roll, the theatrics of Elvis Presley, all the way down to farming disappearing, and mothers going from the home to the workplace. Certainly, all of these things may have contributed to the darkness but that doesn’t affect the way our light shines all. The darker the world gets, the brighter our light should be. John 1:5 says “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” If we had a collective light, those excuses might have a little more credibility. We have an individual light and are most responsible for keeping our light in good working order, not everyone elses.
The fact of the matter is that “the greatest generation” and the “baby boomers” actually left the light on and handed down to us a pretty strong heritage. I was always raised to leave anything better than you found it. We are not leaving the godly heritage that we were given anywhere near as good as we found it. What happens if the light keeps getting dimmer and dimmer? What becomes of the weary travelers behind us? If we don’t leave the light on for them like our ancestors did for us, where do you think mis-guided children are going to be welcomed and accepted; in the bar rooms, clubs, casinos, and etc…? That’s right, wherever the bright lights are. We always want to pile on and talk about our younger folks not being as dedicated to church as we are. We also want to criticize their work ethic or lack of it. The simple fact is that children will do what they are trained to do. What they see in me and in you. If they see our light shining regardless of our circumstances, they will be drawn to the Lord just like we were. Jesus said that if he was lifted up, he would draw all men to him (John 12:32). If we will let our light shine bright, they will be drawn to him. If we have problems with the younger generations there is an easy solution; just live right in front of them and fix it. Don’t look to criticize but to mobilize. Just go out and find them and give them something from Jesus. If we want them to come, we have to get out and bring them in. Don’t turn the light off. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!