Those Who Are "The Light of the World" Should be a Guide to Those Who Are in Darkness.
THE LESSON—That those who have received the light from God's Word should gladly reflect that light to those about them.
The central thought of this illustration is the responsibility which rests upon God's children in the
"It is said that once upon a time a teacher asked a boy to tell her whether the sun or the moon is of the greater importance to the world.
"'The moon,' replied the boy.
"'Why,' inquired the teacher, 'do you think the moon is of more benefit to the world than the sun is?'
"'Because,' said the boy, 'the moon shines at night when we need it, but the sun shines only in the daytime when we do not need it.'
"That was certainly a strange kind of an answer; wasn't it? I will draw the earth and the moon to show more plainly just how mistaken the boy was. [Draw the earth circle and the moon circle, and show the shaded parts as you proceed.]
"Here we have the earth with one-half in darkness, and here is the moon with one-half in darkness. This side of the earth is light, while this other side would be very dark indeed if it were not for the rays of light coming from the moon, like this: [Draw dotted line showing rays of light going from the moon to the earth, completing Fig. 70].
"Now, then we ask, can the moon shine upon the earth all of itself without any help? Ah, no—and that is the thing the boy didn't know, or he never would have answered as he did. Where does the moon get its light from? Yes, from the sun. I will draw part of a circle to represent the sun. [Draw the sun.] And this dotted line [draw dotted line from sun to moon, completing Fig. 71] shows how the sun sends its brilliant light to the moon, so that the moon may reflect part of it back to the earth which would be enshrouded in darkness if it were not for the sun. The moon acts just like a mirror which you hold in your hand and use to reflect the sun's rays wherever you please.
"Sometimes the moon gets between the earth and the sun, and it is then that it does not reflect the sun's light and it is then that we have nights of inky blackness.
"I wonder if we have ever stopped to think how very much we Christian people are, or ought to be, like the moon. Just as the sun warms and lights everything about it, so the love of God lights and warms those who turn their faces toward him. We can truly say with the Psalmist, that 'the Lord is my light and salvation,' but we have not fulfilled our mission on earth if we are willing merely to receive this light of happiness, of contentment, of trust and of faith, without reflecting it in every possible practical way. When Jesus said to those about him, 'Ye are the light of the world,' he also said, 'Let your light shine,' and He pictured to His followers their duty of spreading the light of their blessings to the world of darkness about them. Paul touched upon the same great truth when he wrote to the church at Rome that its members should be 'a light to them which are in darkness.'
"How may we best reflect this light of heaven? It is for each of us to determine this for himself, being governed entirely by his circumstances, his abilities and his opportunities. But, first of all, we must be sure we have received that light as God would have us receive it. None of us can be perfect, but we can live close to our great ideal and by learning constantly from Him, we shall find the light coming to us more clearly and more beautifully as the days go by. We shall find a deeper sympathy for those who suffer, warmer love for those whom we may have condemned, and an increasing desire to be of greater help to those who really need help. When we have reached this condition—when we have truly received the light—we need give little thought to the manner in which we shall reflect it.
"Abraham Lincoln once said, 'I do the best I know, the very best I can, and I mean to keep right on doing so till the end.' Such a life sends its rays down through the generations that are to follow, and its reflected light never fades away."