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Reflecting God's Light to Coworkers
"Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment."
The teenagers at my church like to play a game they call "Would you rather?" Some of them are gross—would you rather sweat cheese or have a permanent brain freeze headache? Some of them are silly—would you rather be Paris Hilton's dog or Donald Trump's wife? And some of them are more thought-provoking like this one that I want to offer you.
Would you rather be a star or a moon? The initial response seems easy: star. (Maybe even big star.) Why be a lifeless floating rock that orbits around something bigger when you can blaze in glory, give off light and be the center of your own universe?
But think again. Many of us spend our whole lives trying to be "stars." (And I don't mean just in the entertainment field). We want to be the center of attention, the most important, the person everyone else has to revolve around.
That is until we realize that we weren't really made to be stars.
In truth, God is the only star, the only sun. He "is light and in whom there is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5). And frankly, it can be exhausting trying to give off your own light, generate your own heat, or be convinced that everything depends upon you.
The most we really can hope to be—still be what we were created to be—is a glowing, reflecting moon. Moons reflect the light of the sun in the darkness. When others can't see the sun or feel as if they are wandering blind, we can offer them a reflection of life to light their paths and keep them safe. Next time you are outside in a dark night, notice how grateful you feel for the glow of a full moon. And that is actually a pretty meaningful existence.
Okay, one more "Would you rather?" Would you rather be completely content or spectacularly successful?
The Bible would actually weigh-in here on the side of "contentment." Indeed, as Paul, the apostle (and mentor) wrote to his young mentee, Timothy, "Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment" (1 Tim. 6:6).
Psychologist Mary Pipher, the author of The Shelter of Each Other, says that we would all be much healthier and much happier if we found ways of redefining success. She suggests that we should consider the person most successful who has watched the most sunsets with his or her whole family. In other words, true riches would be measured by how much awe we experience, how much gratitude we feel, how compelled we are to reflect back to others the goodness of the one God who is the true light.
Sooner or later, we will realize that striving so hard for worldly success—trying so hard to be "a star"—probably keeps us from being what we were made to be.
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