The Lights of the City
are the light of the world. A city on a
hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under
a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to
everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before
men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven
We were looking out the second
floor windows of a restaurant called "The
Reef," at the lights of Long Beach, across the bay. The city
reflected on the water was beautiful to see. It was so similar to the
lights reflected on the Potomac River, which we saw a couple of years
ago, and the lights of Manhattan, seen in June of this year.
The occasion was the annual "Pastors
Appreciation Dinner" for "Love Long
Beach," a group formed by Pastors Doug and Valerie Richardson of
Long Beach Christian Fellowship, to bring those in ministry into
fellowship with one another. The hope of that group is that we will
become friends, who will continue to pray together for the city, city
officials, citizens, churches, and for each other.
It's rare for pastors of various
churches to reach out and help one another, especially on any kind of
continuing basis. Doug and Valerie have been attempting to make this
happen for many years. Doug has personally been rebuffed by others in
his efforts, observing that many in ministry do not WANT such
relationships. All too often its MY Church, as though we somehow
invented it. Most prefer to go it alone. Insulting remarks have been
made to this gentle man, because of his vision that we should learn to
love and support one another in Christ. Incredible!
I have an advantage in that area,
because the Lord saw fit that I would enter the ministry later in life.
Though I did take classes in college that included Theology, Homiletics,
Small Group Ministry, and so on, I know firsthand that we NEED one
another in the Body of Christ. Let us thank God for pastors who will 1)
openly share their own needs, and 2) help others who might be in
different settings. (We ALL are in desperate need of one another).
Tragically though, most simply deny that they lack anything. The second
tragedy is that such denial leads to a false superiority that blocks
At the time we were looking out
those windows, we were praying for the City of Long Beach. First one
pastor, then another, then a spouse, another pastor, and so on, would
speak out in prayer, as we raised the cry of our hearts that God will
bless, save and protect this city, its people, officials, police,
churches, and all who are a part of this community.
Obviously, other pastors and
"lay" people, in cities and places all over the world, should get
together and pray in such a manner. Some do exactly that, but all too
few. There are really no such characters as "lay" people, by the way.
If you are in Christ, you are a part of the priesthood
of believers (1 Peter 2:9), and whether it is your intention or not, you
are in the service of our King.
So, if you haven't already done
it, go find yourself Christian people who are willing to pray with you.
Find a place like a restaurant periodically and break bread together, or
use your home, a local church, or wherever. Pray for your family,
neighborhood, city, country, church - pray for the place and people
where you live. Pray for revival to come. Pray not only for your own
church and pastors, but also for other churches in the area. Do this
often. We need your prayers, for we all need one another.
Jesus said, You
are (collectively) the light of the
world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a
lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it
gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light
shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your
Father in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16). Most people are aware of
the Sermon on the Mount and many
have heard of this section about the light of
the world. Few personally acknowledge the call to action
represented by those words.
In the Church, we are that light
because we reflect the true Light, who
is Jesus Christ (John 8:12). Our job is to bear His image, accurately
reflecting His love into the hearts and lives of those we meet. If we
are not one (John 17:22) in relation to
one another, we become like a broken mirror that does not accurately
reflect the light.
saw a somewhat older movie recently, during which the camera "panned"
the skyline of New York City. It was infinitely sad when the former "Twin
Towers" came on screen. Yes, we see a city at night, as
reflected across the waters, and it can be wonderful. But it's really
the people that are beautiful, when you think about it. Their presence
should touch us with the exquisiteness of the moment and we should take
them to the Lord in prayer. Our eyes can see the lights, but our hearts
should also "see" the people and pray for them, reaching out to the
needs represented by every light in those buildings.
like those in the Twin Towers, all our lives can be shaken and changed
in an instant. The people in YOUR city, country, neighborhood and home,
need the Son of God, and none of us know how much time we have! This
life is but a moment, and the reflection of eternity is touching
everything we say and do. Reach out to Jesus and let Him change your
life. And then, as in the Christian song of a few decades ago, "Tell
Father, I give my heart and life
to You. I need Jesus, the Son of God, and I receive Him now. Fill me,
Holy Spirit, and let me reflect Your Light into the lives of others in
this dark world. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries
P.O. Box 92131
Long Beach, CA 90809-2131
we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)