By Erin Bowman
When I graduated from college, I received a Tiffany style lamp as a gift. The person who gave it to me said I should put it in my office so that no matter how hard the day was, there would always be something beautiful to see. It was a nice gesture. The problem was, the reality of my job situation was that I had a different office on a daily basis and the notion of hauling a stained glass desk lamp with me all across the city wasn’t appealing. So the beautiful lamp sat in my home, unplugged for years.
When I finally got to a location where I had a permanent office, I was excited to put my graduation present to use. I set the lamp on my desk and turned it on…. nothing. At some point during its 15 years of sitting useless, it quit working. I sighed, thinking about the movers who had commented on how beautiful the lamp was not knowing that it couldn’t do its job. It reminded me of Samuel being sent to the house of Jesse to anoint a new king. Samuel first sees Eliab who was muscular with striking looks and thinks that Eliab certainly must be the new king, but God says no. Similarly, with multiple other brothers, all with the physical attributes of leaders, God continues to say no. God knew that, like my lamp, what was on the inside of these beautiful people wasn’t wired correctly. Their hearts did not beat for God in the way that David’s did, and when they were given the power of leadership, instead of shining God’s light to the Israelites, they would only continue to bring darkness.
Saddened by my lamp that would never be, I pondered what to do with it. Perhaps I could just replace the base, but keep the shade? No, that cost as much as a new lamp. Maybe I could give it to someone who could use pieces of it for projects? Nobody was interested. I was about ready to throw it away when I happened to run across a video titled “DIY lamp repair”. I then set about the process of rewiring my 15 year old lamp by cutting cords, pulling out the inner workings, placing a new socket, and locking everything into place with new screws. To get the lamp to work, I had to completely gut it, stripping away everything old and replacing the internal workings with completely new parts. But when I was finished, I turned the switch, and the lamp glowed.
For want of a few parts and less than an hours worth of work, I had almost thrown away something beautiful. I was again reminded of God and how He views us, the way he sees past the outside to what is on the inside. And yet, unlike me, God is never tempted to throw us away. He met the woman caught in adultery and does not condemn her. Instead, he tells her to go and sin no more (John 8:1-11). He went to Saul, one of the biggest persecutors of the early church, and rewired him as Paul (Acts 9:1-19). After Paul’s conversion, despite physical difficulties he went on at least 3 missionary journeys and mentored and encouraged numerous church leaders of his time. God knows exactly what needs rewiring within our lives and has the skill to accomplish His goals in us, if we allow it.
Today, how do you find yourself? Are you the lamp that I was given after graduation with much to offer, but who is sitting unplugged? Then get plugged in! Where does your heart call you to serve? Talk to friends or family who know you well and see where they see your passions and gifting. Talk to your pastor about ways to use those gifts within the church and the community.
Instead, do you feel like your wiring has gone bad and you no longer have anything to offer? Do you feel that the darkness in your life is beyond repair? As God’s handiwork, created in Christ to do good work (Eph 2:10), God knows all that you have done, and all that you still have to offer. He is calling you to turn to Him and trust Him. If you are unsure where to begin, say a simple prayer “Lord Jesus, please lead me.” What does God bring to your mind? Is it a friend who you know follows God? Is it a church that you haven’t been to in a while? Is it a verse in scripture? Follow up on these small nudges and listen to His leading. Reach out to a friend or clergy member who you trust and ask them to pray for you and listen to your heart. God has not given up on you, and if you allow Him to work in your life, you will see that soon, your lamp will begin to give light to others who may be struggling in darkness right now.