Use It or Lose It

He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

“Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to youand even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” (Mark 4:21-25)

Jesus is clear–believers are to let their light shine before men, fueled by His mercy and love. Our spheres are to see our good deeds and praise the Father in heaven. He who gives the power also gets the glory–the light within us is to point to the One who put it there. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said:

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

A light is meant to both shine and give direction. Light also dispels darkness. It unmasks the hidden, bringing out in the open those things that are concealed and secret. We do those around us and ourselves no favors when we hide the light of our words and deeds. In our age of tolerance we often muffle the truth in an effort to keep peace and not ruffle feathers. Often we choose not to refute with truth and mercy thinking our lack of words and actions to be Christ-like when in reality we are driven by fear or indifference or weakness or ignorance or some other wrong motivation.

We carry around in our jars of clay a precious treasure, do we allow others to see it?

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)

“To believe in the God over us and not in the God within us – that would be a powerless and fruitless faith.” (Phillips Brooks)

In the last sentence of our verses for today, Jesus is basically telling us: “Use it or lose it.” As believers, we are often guilty of sitting in a “holy huddle” feasting upon God’s truth and yet never pouring it out to the world. We must allow the Holy Spirit to make the Gospel come alive through our actions or words. We are meant to be conduits of His love and grace!

In the Parable of the Talents, makes this same point:

“Someone asked ‘Will the heathen who have never heard the Gospel be saved?’ It is more a question—Whether we—who have the Gospel and fail to give it to those who have not—can be saved.” -Charles Spurgeon

“Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. “‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” (Matthew 25:24-30)

Take It to Heart

Believers are to be conformed to the image of Jesus leaving the “aroma of Christ” everywhere in their wake:

For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. (2 Corinthians 2:15)

We are to radiate and point others to a path of wholeness that is achieved through His power. Our influence is to be evident, like a city on a hill or a lamp upon a stand. Is your sphere of influence a different place because you bring Jesus there?