Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Devotional: A Winter's Tale - Mark 4:21

Mark 4:21       Jesus said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don't you put it on its stand?”

            Many years ago, when I was in 5th grade, I almost foolishly set fire to my home. It was during a cold winter’s night when there was an unexpected power cut in our street. I think I was doing my homework at the time, so I asked for a candle from my parents and took it into my bedroom. Everything went well until I dropped my pencil and it fell below my bed. Without thinking, I took the candle on the plate and put it under the mattress to see where my pencil had fallen.

            Whoosh! Flames spread out below the bed and across the dust on the carpet beneath. I quickly grabbed the candle away and managed to douse the flames. Another couple of seconds and the whole bed would have been ablaze, possibly catching fire to the wallpaper and around the room. Fortunately, there was very little damage and my parents or siblings never knew what had taken place.

            Reading today’s passage (Mark 4:21-29) always makes me think of my stupidity. Putting a candle under the bed illuminates nothing but can inflame everything. Jesus was, of course, talking about how the kingdom of God should be displayed throughout our lives. Our faith is not something that we are meant to keep to ourselves; we are supposed to proclaim our Christianity through our words and deeds, so that others may see Christ’s work in the world and be attracted to Him through our positive witness.

            At some point this week, we will all be given special opportunities to show our faith. As Christians, we are encouraged to share who Christ is with our families and friends, our fellow workers and neighbors. It’s never easy to do and sometimes we would like to hide our faith, but perhaps we should remember this: someone else shared their faith with us, so shouldn't we be doing the same?

Questions for personal reflection

Where am I currently most challenged to share my faith? Am I willing to let Christ’s light shine through me?

Prayer:            Lord Jesus, help us to actively and positively share our faith with someone else today. Keep us focused on Your ministry and mission. Enable and encourage us to support Your Church as it spreads Your Kingdom throughout the world. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to ask questions or make comments about today’s messages, please send him an email to

Today’s image is one of John’s latest Advent drawings. It’s called “A Christmas Wreath.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link: Wreath.

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