Go Light Your World                                                                  A Mini-Teaching on The Gift of Service

Does it seem like the world around you is getting darker?  

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Personally, I struggle to watch or read the news as it is just so horrifying and depressing.  And it is not just on a distant, worldly level, but I also hear so much heaviness from those who are near me and suffering.

Well, if you can relate, I have a gift for you today.  It is a recording of a song called GO LIGHT YOUR WORLD.  I first heard this song sung several years ago at a Prayer Group that I had attended and I just fell in love with it, so in love with it that I asked the worship leader of the Bible study I attend, Paula Smith and pianist David Carnes, if they would make a recording of this song that I could share with other women.  

At the time, I was preparing to teach from the book of 1 Peter, specifically chapter 4, verses 7-19 (see below).  It was a lesson on being a light in the world through the GIFT OF SERVICE, and I just knew that through this song, God was going to Light a few souls on Fire, so that they could then Go Out And Light Their World.

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I hope that this song lights a fire in you as well.  Below the song is a portion of that teaching I prepared on 1 Peter.  Be warned it is longer than a regular post but shorter than a sermon, but worth the time to read it all (at least I think so)!

GO LIGHT YOUR WORLD, sung by Paula Smith, piano by David Carnes.

Throughout this book (1 Peter), Peter was talking to Christians who had been scattered throughout the Roman Empire, who were facing persecution and suffering - much like the suffering we are experiencing today.  Over and over in this letter, he was emphasizing to them that this world they were living in was not their home. 

He was also telling them that they were called to be set apart.  They were a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, and for such reason they should live their lives in holiness, just like God is holy – even if it meant suffering for being a Christian.

Because of this Peter was also filling them with a hope that they could and should endure their sufferings because afterwards an inheritance was coming that would never perish, spoil or fade. 

Paul starts off by saying THE END OF ALL THINGS IS NEAR.   Basically Paul is saying “In light of what is going on here, let’s put everything into perspective.  You are going to have trials but your trials will only last for a brief period."  How brief no one would know, and really the same is true for us in regards to our present day trials.  We are promised an end – and a glorious end – but when that will be we don’t know.

You have to think about Peter’s words giving a lot of strength to his audience.  After all, here was this great leader, a disciple who knew Jesus well, a man on whom the church was founded, someone with immense respect, and he was speaking personally to them.  So his words would have given them a lot of  strength to believe they could endure, and here’s how:

BREATHE – He was calling on them to get their focus right, be clear minded and self controlled so that they could pray.  That was the secret - To get back to the roots of their faith, to be Christ focused, to be Spirit focused.  He was basically giving them a charge to go out and live, to go out and love, to go out and serve, to go out and light their world, for to serve is a gift!

In Numbers 18, when the Lord was speaking to Aaron about the service of the Levite priests, He said:

"I am giving you the service of the priesthood 


The priesthood was a gift from God to the Levites, and we as believers have now been included in that priesthood.  Thus we also have been given the gift to serve. 

Now you may not always feel like your service, the work you do for others in life is a gift.  Quite frankly you may often hate it.  You May be saying, "You do not know what I have to do.  It's no gift!" 

Do you think what you have to do is any worse than what the priests had to do?  Let me show you a few things of this GIFT they were given.

Leviticus 1:1-9  says the priests were responsible for the offerings brought to the Lord.  That meant they were responsible for the killing, skinning, dismembering, and burning of the offered animals.  After the burnt offerings had been made, they had to clean up the mess.  Is there beauty in a job that sees death every day?   Would it be a gift to have to deal with animal remains and blood each and everyday?

Leviticus 6:8-13 says that while the burnt offering was burning, the priest had to continually tend the fire, throughout the night. Then tired from the night watch, they were required to keep a change of clothes as they went in and out of the camp to dispose of the ashes so that they would always be ceremoniously clean.  

An endless job, somewhat like mothers, in that their jobs were never really done.  Twenty-four hours, they continuously had to watch over the articles in the sanctuary, not just the altar but the lamps keeping them filled with oil, having fresh bread on the table, and carrying the articles of the Tabernacle throughout the desert - articles of wood and gold weighing hundreds of pounds.  It was a seemingly, endless, monotonous, burden bearing job.

But it doesn't end there!  The duty of the priest is discussed further  in Leviticus 13, as scripture outlines how they were to be the ones to monitor the peoples' health - skin diseases, boils, burns, rashes, etc.  Is there anything grand about the service of monitoring skin diseases?

There is nothing that appears to be glamorous, easy or pleasant about this role of priest and yet God declared this service to be A GIFT.  And that too is how we should consider our life of service in this world.  AND HERE IS WHY:

The priesthood was a gift because it allowed the priests to be a part of the works of God.  The rest of the Israelites worked, but the priests worked around the holy things.  They were positioned near to God, even in the mundane, routine works of life, like keeping the camp clean.  Their work allowed them to be in His presence, and in His presence is fullness of joy – even when it is hard!

Once you start to see your role as a priest and your service as a gift to you, it will change your whole approach to how you serve.  It can cost you a lot but I believe in some small way simple acts of service are a part of lighting this world.

The priesthood was also a gift though because it was a brotherhood.  Moses and Aaron’s descendants were the Levites.  They were part of a tribe, a family, and they worked together.  As I think back to the lyrics of this song GO LIGHT YOUR WORLD, I see how we too like the priests are a family and we have the gift of lighting this world together. 

That is what Peter is referring to in this passage when he speaks of the different gifts.  Some can offer hospitality, some can be administrators, some can teach and encourage, some can serve.

There are many, many ways each day to light someone’s world.   Sitting at home asking a child how their day was is just as important as visiting a friend in the hospital.  Giving a hug to someone and making them laugh is equally as important as teaching the Bible or giving to the poor.  Going to the grocery store to provide dinner for your family is just as important as hanging out with someone you know to be lonely.  

They are all efforts at keeping a light burning in this dark world.

And remember, you don’t have to light the WHOLE world, you just have to light the part that God calls you to. I encourage to ask yourself, "Who is my flock?"  Who is your flock, who has God called you to shepherd?  Whose world God has called you to light?  Then, all you have to do is just light that world.

That’s the beauty of the body of Christ, of being a part of the family of the priesthood.   YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO IT ALL!    That’s probably the best lesson I’ve learned from discovering what my spiritual gifts are.  You don’t have to do it all.

You just light one or two in your world each day.  Someone else lights one or two others, and the world becomes a brighter place. It’s the principle of compound interest, much like many might have witnessed at a Christmas Eve Service.

The sanctuary is dark.  The minister has a candle.  He lights someone else's candle.  Now there are two.  Those two each light another, and then there are 4.  In minutes, the sanctuary is lit with candles burning.  What would have taken one man a long time to do, a team working together can do quickly.

In John 9:5, Jesus says, “I Am the Light of the World.”  Do you know what He said in that same sentence just prior to that?   “WHILE I AM IN THE WORLD, I am the light of the World."   

Jesus now says, “You are the Light of the World."  If men are to see Him, they must see Him in us.  You can be the light when the rest of the world gets dark!

So my charge to you today is the same as Peter’s was to Christians then:

Go Light Your World

Your World Needs The Light Of Christ Within You

It Is A Gift To You As Well As A Gift To Them 

And if you would like a prayer to pray over all of the work that you do and to be able to see it as a gift, click here.

 1 Peter 4:7-19 

7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.  12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And,“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”[a]  19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

© margaret young