Several years ago a friend posted a message on facebook that has continued to stir my soul and convict my life. It was a short statement talking about the radical-poured out lifestyle of a group of missionaries, and one in particular who was such a blazing light for Christ that his tombstone testimony has become what I want God to do in and through my life. This is what the message said:
Around the turn of the 20th century, a group of missionaries became known as ‘one-way’ missionaries. When they departed for the mission field they packed all of their belongings into a coffin and bought one-way tickets because they knew they’d never return home. A.W. Milne was one of them. He felt called to a tribe of headhunters in the New Hebrides. All the other missionaries to this tribe had been martyred, but Milne found favor. He lived among the tribe for 35 years and never returned home. The tribe buried him and wrote the following words on his tombstone, “When he came there was no light. When he left there was no darkness.”
What would it look like for my life to be so filled with the blazing light of Christ that wherever I went no darkness remained? It is not that I produce the light but rather I am a conduit through which the light can flow or, as Revelation says it, I become a lampstand holding up the lamp – which is Christ. What if my life became so reflective of Jesus Himself that people began to tell me to “lighten down”?—similar to how Moses had to wear a veil because the Presence of God was shinning so bright through his life (Exodus 34).
As Christians our lives should be nothing but light-full. Ephesians 5 says “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light … And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them … But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.”
It is light that walks into darkness and destroys it. There is absolutely no darkness or shadow that has power over light. If you walk in a dark room and flip a light switch, the darkness has no choice but to dissipate. Think of your life – what if Jesus (the Light) came thundering inside? No darkness could remain (even if it wanted to)! The darkness disappears and is destroyed … as long as the Light resides. Is there ANY shadow or darkness within you?
What if Jesus then took our light-filled lives as a flashlight and began to shine Himself (the Light) into our dark dark world? I recently read an account of John McKenzie which said “one evening when he was a lad and eager for work in the foreign mission field he knelt down at the foot of a tree and offered up this prayer: ‘O Lord, send me to the darkest spot on earth.’ And God heard him and sent him …” Could I say that? Am I willing to be such a light to the darkest places in the world, my nation, my city?
“God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1.5). We likewise should not have ANY association with darkness in our lives (Ephesians 5.11).
May my epitaph read that when I left there was no darkness. What legacy does Jesus want to leave with your life?