Growing up in Michigan, I spent a lot of time on the Great Lakes. We lived close to them, so we often camped. One of our past times was to go to a beach and look at all the different ships in harbor. What does a ship do in a harbor? It refills supplies sure, but more importantly it gives its sailors a rest and sanctuary from the unforgiving seas. There is a proverb concerning a ship that I am reminded of in the summertime: “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for” (John A. Shedd). Summertime: it’s a time full of traveling, grilling, and cabin-ing. Every year, I look forward to the crackle of the fire, the breeze off the lake, and the cry of the loons bidding the day goodnight. Summer becomes my harbor: my season of rest and enjoyment of God’s beautiful creation. I am safe in my rest, but that’s not what I have been built for (and neither have you!) We have been created to be the light of the world.
Jesus says in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will have a life filled with light and will never live in the dark.” Think of a candle. Think of Jesus holding that candle, and then lighting the candle you hold. Because of that gift of light, you are now the light of the world, shining the light of Christ (Matthew 5). Now that you have this light, the question remains: what do you do with it? How do we undock from our safe harbors and carry that light elsewhere? Here are some ways to get you started this summer.
To live compassionately, look first to Jesus and how He embodied compassion. Open up the Gospels and you will see Jesus writing checks to every non-profit and homeless man He stumbles upon, right? Wrong. Yes, it is important to write checks to organizations; I am not trying to belittle that at all. But compassion requires action: something that you will find Jesus doing.
The word “compassion” comes from two Latin words that mean “to suffer with”. Jesus embraced the leper, stuck His fingers in a deaf man’s ears, and coated mud on a blind man’s eyes. He went so far as to suffer with us by enduring our death on the cross. Write as many checks as you want, but deep compassion and love looks pretty dirty sometimes. (Good thing its summer, I’m sure there will be plenty of hoses handy!)
Living intentionally in the home and in your neighborhood will have it’s challenges. In fact, this is the one that I struggle with the most. However, it is vital to our lives as children of God. What do we need to be intentional about? Living in the light.
In the home, this looks like devotions and time in prayer as a family. Researchers affirm that families who eat, pray, and play together are stronger. “But Anna, my kids think this is boring. My spouse thinks this is boring. Heck, I think this is boring.” Then make it exciting! Take a look at my list of 8 exciting ways to spend time in the Word together. Being spiritually nourished is vital to every person. “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and light for my path.”
There is a saying that goes, “Preach the Gospel, use words only when necessary.” I am here to say: bologna. Doing good works and showing others love is great and reflects our Creator, but this summer, be intentional about speaking the name of Jesus, who we do these works under. Mowing my neighbor’s lawn shows love, but it does not save my neighbor. It’s only Jesus’ name that can save.
The word enthusiasm comes from two Greek words: “en-“, which means “in”, and “Theos”, which means “God”. If enthusiasm means being “in God,” then there’s a lot of excitement that comes with that!
What’s so exciting about God? All He did was give us some stone tablets with 10 laws on them…
No, God is much more than that:
Since we have confidence in the new promise, we speak very boldly. Yet, even today, when they read the books of Moses, a veil covers their minds. But whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. This Lord is the Spirit. Wherever the Lord’s Spirit is, there is freedom. As all of us reflect the Lord’s glory with faces that are not covered with veils, we are being changed into his image with ever-increasing glory. This comes from the Lord, who is the
Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:12, 15-18).
This summer, enjoy whatever your harbor might be, but remember, that’s not what you were made for. Live compassionately, intentionally, and enthusiastically. Even when we are out at sea, with waves crashing against us and we think that all may be lost, the Lord promises us this: that our anchor is in Him. We are loved by the Creator of the universe: who are you going to sail to first?