Jesus wants me for a sunbeam.


I have been living in Denver, CO for one year now.  When I arrived, one of the first thing the locals were eager to inform me was that Denver gets 300 days of sunshine a year.  “Better weather than LA” goes the mantra.  And it is true!  I did not count how many days this year I actually saw the sunshine, but I did notice that the gray haze never settled in like it does in the Midwest.  When it is cold, hot, windy and even snowy, the sun tends to find it’s way out within a day.

I feel as though I have been fortunate enough to be driving to work during some phase of the sunrise for the past few months.  I do enjoy waking up after the sun has risen, but it is pleasant indeed to watch the beauty that is the Colorado sky on my way in to work.

This morning, as the rays of purple and orange began streaming across the eastern sky, a song that we sang as kids popped into my head:

Jesus wants me for a sunbeam,
To shine for him each day;
In ev’ry way try to please him,
At home, at school, at play.
Jesus wants me to be loving
And kind to all I see,
Showing how pleasant and happy
His little one can be.
A sunbeam, a sunbeam,
Jesus wants me for a sunbeam.
A sunbeam, a sunbeam,
I’ll be a sunbeam for him.

– Nellie Talbot 1874-19??

Did you sing this as a kid?  The song has remarkably strong theology, if you analyze the lyrics.  Just last week I was reflecting on C.S. Lewis’s application of Matt 5.16:

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

Humming the melody this morning, the nature of a sunbeam caught my attention.  The sunbeam has no light in-and-of itself.  It is the direct radiation of a greater entity.  It is made most visible by the contrast against darkened regions of a cloud or object, and can be reflected and amplified by particles or water droplets in the air.  There are no sunbeams in the absence of darkness.

I, as a young child, sang the song without an understanding of the depths of application and meaning behind it.  The only thing I truly remember contemplating as a child was the phrase, “At home, at school, at play”.  I wondered how to be a sunbeam while I was playing, especially because I enjoyed playing out in the woods behind my house by myself.

But now the reality in application is that every aspect of life is an opportunity to shine forth God’s grace, love and mercy.  The way I respond to every situation is a chance for a testimony of His work in my life.  The things I choose to do and to not do can all be Him, living through me.   Or they can be me trying to glorify myself.

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

– Gal 2.20

If you try to generate your own light, you will get burned out, and you will only produce artificial light.  If you allow the true light to shine through you, you will shine forever.

“Then the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”
 – Matt 13.43

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