I recently heard an interesting story that took place outside a small village in Eastern Europe. I’ve had the pleasure of traveling much in that part of the world; therefore, the story caught my attention. I could picture it all in my mind’s eye.
There was an elderly woman who had two sons. They didn’t have electricity, lighting their home with kerosene and oil lamps. When the sons grew up, they moved away, got jobs, married, and began to raise their own families. They never forgot their mother and visited often, helping her in various ways especially as she grew older.
One day they had an idea. They would look into having electricity lines from the nearby village to her home. The electrical company agreed. Soon enough the woman’s little house was all set. Her sons, in great joy, told her all she had to do now was flick the switch and she would have light. It would make life so much easier for her. They also assured her that they would pay the bills. It would be their delight because they loved her so much. The woman was thankful and happy.
As the months passed the sons were curious as to why the sum of the monthly bills was so little. They paid their mother a visit to inquire. They asked if she turned on the electricity. She assured them she did right when she needed it most. Further questions from her sons revealed what their mother meant by “when she needed it most.” She explained that each evening, just before sunset, she turned-on her electric lights so she could see clearly to put kerosene or oil in her lamps. When they were lit she turned off the electric light.
She meant well, but she was missing the whole point of what her sons had provided for her. I couldn’t help but consider, do we do the same thing in our spiritual worlds? One of my favorite verses is Psalm 119:105, “Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” We can see enough with our own reasoning to make life decisions, but how much easier and certain to walk the right paths, when we look into the Light of God’s Word.
It’s easy to take a peek once in a while into His Word, to ease our own consciences into believing God must be pleased with our peeking. Then we go right back to lighting our lamps with the kerosene of the world’s advice and reasoning, walking along dimly lit roads when we could have the full illumination of God’s own guidance.
The woman in this story was a good and thankful woman, but sadly, foolish in her understanding of what her sons had done for her. Aren’t you and I, at times, well meaning in our hearts, but also foolish when we think we can reason our way onto good paths, while we have the perfect Light of God’s Word to guide us every time? We show a lack of understanding of what Jesus did for us when He died and rose again; His last words before He ascended, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…” (Acts 1:8) By the empowering of the Holy Spirit, He will guide us into the understanding of God’s Word, into moving in the power of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, taking us along great and mighty paths, filled with His joy and courage and peace.
Who needs the world’s kerosene when we have God’s Light?