Sometimes you just have to put yourself out there.
Then Jesus said to them, “If you can’t understand the meaning of this parable, how will you understand all the other parables? 14 The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others. 15 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message, only to have Satan come at once and take it away. 16 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 17 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. 18 The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, 19 but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. 20 And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
21 Then Jesus asked them, “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine. 22 For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. 23 Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
24 Then he added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more. 25 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.” – Mark 4:13-25
Did you ever read a book while hidden under the covers, flashlight in hand? What was the motive? You wanted to get away with reading past your bedtime. Or you were reading something you know you shouldn’t be reading. Or you just wanted to have an adventurous experience, pretending to be in some other place and time.
This is not what Jesus is talking about when he speaks of putting your lamp under a basket. He’s saying that lamps are to be lit for light. No one in Jesus’ day would waste precious oil by burning a lamp hidden under a basket. That’s foolishness!
Lamps are lit to shed light. They shed light to provide safe navigation, a sense of security, and give light and life to a room. We light lamps to see where to go, who we’re with, and how to get from one point to another.
God’s word does this. It provides a path for life. It helps us to recognize who we are and who are the people around us. It points us in the right direction for life.
But there is one other thing. You can tell a lamp is there. It sheds light, and you can see the lamp as well as the objects it illuminates. You can see the light. You can see the lamp.
Some people want to sit in the background. They don’t want to make a scene. They don’t want to put themselves forward. I get that. But we must never use that as an excuse not to act. It is never proper to have the light of grace and truth in our hearts and lives and never let it out. It’s not good to brag, but it’s not good to refuse to do the things God’s word inspires us to do. Sometimes our refusal to put ourselves forward is nothing more than a thinly veiled effort to avoid the responsibilities we know we should take.
Are you being called to pray? Pray! Are you being called to become a friend of a lonely person? Become a friend. Are you being called to give to a worthy cause? Give? Are you being called to serve? Serve! Are you being called to lead? Lead!
Sometimes you just have to put yourself out there. Sometimes you just have to let your light shine.