Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Night Farming

I sit at my desk typing by the light of the monitor with a faint gleam of light from a lamp in the living room in the corner of my eye. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world, and whoever believes in you will not walk in the darkness, but he will have the light of life." [1]

Now, that certainly does not mean that the light from these various light sources are emanating his essence. The light of life is not coming to me from these various light sources. The first chapter of John's gospel says that John the Baptist came into the world to testify about the light, but he was not the light.

John 1
9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.
11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,
13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

So, the light of life brings true enlightenment to the soul with respect to one's sinful condition and the life found in the gospel. But since Jesus is not physically in this world, what is our light source that illumines the souls of men?

The Word of God that became flesh was the image given of Christ earlier in the first chapter of John's gospel, and therefore, I believe that the holy scriptures are the objective light source that is available to all who have the Bible. Therefore, it is to the benefit of all who possess the Bible to read the Word by faith to receive the light of life. [2]

And although I know that I should read the Bible every day (and in deed I do read the Bible every day), I find that my life is being crowded by the reading of so many other books – good books – even theological books. So, what is the relationship between these good theological books that are commanding so much of my time and the Word of Life and Light.

I believe that there is light in the books that are written by faithful men about the Christ of the Bible. It is not emitted light, in other words, it is not light generated by the author or the words of these books. Rather, what light that does come from these sources is reflected light.

It is the difference between the light from the sun and the light from the moon. The light from the moon is borrowed light, not its own light. The sun illuminates the surface of the moon and the moon reflects a fraction of that light to the earth. Therefore, the glorious beauty of the moon is put on display by the sun, and as such the moon should point us to the majesty of the sun.

And although the light has the same source, it is not as though the two objects have the same effect. When the sun is present in the sky, it drowns all others, while the moon, though dominant in the night sky, is transient in the magnitude of its light through its phases and there are other competing lights that can be seen quite easily.

More than that, the light of the sun feeds all life on the earth. Its light enables the nourishment of every plant. The moon, though reflecting the same light to the earth does not provide nearly enough light to support the life of those plants.

These days, I feel like the planet Jupiter. I am reading so many books, that I have seven moons in orbit, [3] and although I am feeling the light of the sun on a daily basis, the responsibilities of reading so many other books is sometimes eclipsing the profit and benefit that I could gain in reading the Bible and soaking in the light of Christ through prayer and meditation.

It is not as though the reading of these various books is necessarily filling my head with bad thoughts, but it is nearly impossible to to follow the line of thinking of each author, and take the time to trace the reflected rays back to their glorious source and meditate on the richness of the source. More than that to let those meditations mind voice in personal communication with God in prayer.

Instead, I feel that in keeping up on my reading on so many fronts I am like a plant that is carried inside after a half an hour in the sun. I am then brought back outside to try and survive on the reflected light of the moon. I am not saying that I should not read books other than the Bible. But I think that I should not read so many at one time if they are going to displace personal communion with God, Himself…

The Preacher in Ecclesiastes was right:

Ecclesiastes 12
12 But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body.

[1] John 8: 12
[2] If the Word of God is read without faith, it will give little light or life and thus there will be little fruit born in the person's life. Many are those who have read the Bible and the words had little or no effect.
[3] I am presently reading: Triumph over Temptation, Peacemaker, One Body-One Spirit, Money Possessions and Eternity, Pleasures of God, Spiritual Depression, William Tyndale Biography, …and the Bible and Valley of Vision.

1 comment:

GrandmaK said...

This is really interesting...As it happens our Bible study group has been studying the Gospel of John since September, 2006. Weekly there are gleaning and en"light"ening revelations for me...But many things are revealed through the "light" when we avail ourselves of Him. Thank you for your insights...