On July 4th, we were with our sons and their families in a suburban Nashville subdivision. Just after dark we began feeling the percussive presence of fireworks, so we went out into the street to watch. The subdivisions in this area are back-to-back, side-to-side and end-to-end. In fact, it’s hard to tell where one neighborhood starts and the others begin. (It’s astounding how many single-family homes that developers and builders have packed into a few square miles.)
That night, at the end of Independence Day, every neighborhood had its own fireworks show…and it seemed that each neighborhood was trying to outdo the next. For us, it meant standing in the middle of the street and witnessing a 360-degree display that lasted more than an hour. We got dizzy spinning to see them all.
But it also seemed that night that God was not to be outdone. In fact, He launched His own show in the midst of it with lightning streaking and thunder roaring. It was almost as though the Almighty was answering Man’s display–reminding us that He is Master of all light. It was amazing—truly the best fireworks display I’ve ever witnessed!
Finally we got tired of looking up and decided to call it a night. Then I noticed hovering just above knee level the most awe-inspiring light show of the evening. A single tiny firefly was blinking and weaving around the mailbox. At first I thought that he was confused and disoriented by his competition. Then I wondered if maybe he was trying to outshine the other displays. Or was he just “doing his thing” not caring if anyone noticed him or not?
I know how it feels to try and compete in a world of brilliant and talented “lights.” I too-often compare myself to others. Most of the time I pout about my inability to outshine them. Occasionally, I’ll gain the courage to put my light out there and see if I’ll measure up. But I know that what God has called me to do is to be like the firefly and shine as I have been equipped, regardless of the competition.
Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)