Dr. Jackie Minor
This Little Light of Mine
This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
Isn’t it amazing how God can bring to mind a song we learned as children to remind us of our calling? Over the past few months I have had several conversations with educators from around the country. While many of the conversations have been productive and positive, others contained an undercurrent of apathy. I am fearful this may be on the rise among educators.
While the word apathy may sound a bit harsh, synonyms for apathy may be better descriptors of what I have encountered.
Sometimes the apathy doesn’t necessarily start with us, but we seem to run into it everywhere.
· A colleague who is insensitive and doesn’t seem to care about their students.
· A parent that has given up on their child or who is just not present.
· A leader who is non-supportive and seems to have checked out.
· A student who is combative no matter what you try.
· A student who has developed a mode of learned-helplessness.
· A climate and culture that is adversarial.
It is hard not to get discouraged when everything around us feels toxic. I truly do not know how to handle these situations apart from the Word of God. When I have felt at my lowest, the only thing I know to do is to get into God’s Word and seek insight and guidance. God’s Word becomes my flashlight. I simply do not have what it takes to navigate the darkness alone. Psalm 119:105 becomes real in such times—Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
As I was preparing for this blog and reflecting on my previous conversations, I asked God to help me be an encouragement to educators who may be struggling with apathy in their hearts or in their workplace. Shortly after my prayer, I began to hum This Little Light of Mine. I couldn’t shake it. It was as if God was prompting me to remember the impact a “little” light can have in the midst of darkness.
This simple little childhood song was based on the words of Jesus during the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:14-16.
You are the light of the world. You cannot hide a city that is on a mountain. Men do not light a lamp and put it under a basket. They put it on a table so it gives light to all in the house. Let your light shine in front of men. Then they will see the good things you do and will honor your Father Who is in heaven.
Jesus wanted to encourage the believers then, and I believe He still wants to encourage us today. However, I think we need to go a bit deeper to reflect on the source of our light. The Apostle John gives us a clear picture of this source throughout his epistle.
Life began by Him (Jesus). His Life was the Light for men. The Light shines in the darkness. The darkness has never been able to put out the Light. John 1: 4-5
This true Light, coming into the world, gives light to every man. John 1:9
Jesus spoke to all the people saying, “I am the Light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will not walk in darkness. He will have the Light of Life.” John 8:12
Then Jesus spoke with a loud voice, “Anyone who puts his trust in Me, puts his trust not only in Me, but in Him Who sent Me. Anyone who sees Me, sees Him Who sent Me. I came to the world to be a Light. Anyone who puts his trust in Me will not be in darkness.” John 12: 44-46
There are two clear messages that emerge from these Scriptures. First, Jesus gives life. Second, when we receive Him, we have access to the light of life. The light of Jesus is holy and pure, something impossible to obtain or understand on our own. I believe that is why Jesus makes it clear that only through Him can this light be found.
If you are a Christ follower working in a toxic, apathetic, dark workplace, be encouraged! Don’t forget—Jesus says YOU are the light of the world! Don’t put your light under a basket! Set it on the table so all can see. You have a light that can ultimately bring glory to your God.
Remember, a “little” light can cast away the darkness around you. Even if our environments aren’t toxic, we are still called to shine the light of Jesus to others around us. What can we do to let our light shine?
· Smile at someone who seems angry.
· Offer to cover an extra duty of a co-worker who is feeling overwhelmed.
· Speak an encouraging word to a parent who is struggling.
· Give a thank-you note to a support staff person who needs encouragement.
· Spend time getting to know a student personally who seems lost.
· Offer to pray for someone.
Never underestimate the power of ONE LITTLE light that is shining for Jesus. You never know. You may start a fire!
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…