Dr. Thomas Lane Butts: This Little Light of Mine

Some of the most basic concepts of religious faith are often contained in the songs and prayers we learned as children - when we were most impressionable. The account of the crucifixion of Jesus in the Gospel of St. Luke says: "Then Jesus crying with a loud voice said, 'Father into thy hands I commit my spirit!' And having said this he breathed his last." His final words were the words of a Jewish children's prayer. It is touching to know that the last words of Jesus on the cross were the words of the prayer he learned as a child. He came into the world as a child and he left this world with a child's prayer on his lips.

When I was an active pastor, I would frequently have the children sing "This Little Light of Mine" at the end of the children's sermon. It is a simple song, but it teaches a profound principle. It teaches a child to recognize that no matter how small they may be, they have a little light.

So many people ‘hide their light under a bushel (basket)' (Matthew 5:15) because they do not think that their little light can possibly make a difference. If children are taught early to be aware and proud of their light, then, when they are grown, they will be more likely to stand up and let their light shine.

Dr. James Dobson once told about a friend who was piloting a small single-engine plane one evening just about dusk. He was headed toward a small country airport. Night fell more quickly than he anticipated, however, and by the time he reached the airport, it was impossible for him to distinguish the paved landing strip in the darkness. His little plane was not equipped with navigational instruments and no one seemed to be around the airport to turn on the run way lights. He could not see the ground and he couldn't chance hitting a house in the darkness. He started circling the airport. For two hours he circled around in the darkness burning off fuel so that when he fell from the sky, he would not explode on impact and further increase the risk to others.

What happened next had to be an answer to prayer. Someone on the ground heard the plane circling the airport and guessed what the problem was. Immediately he jumped into his car and headed for the airport. Not knowing how to switch on any of the airport's lights, he settled for driving his car up and down the runway with his lights on high beam showing the pilot the dimensions of the runway. Then he pulled his car off to one end of the runway with his headlights still beaming. The pilot followed those two little lights and made a safe landing.

Some days we do not feel as if one little light will help anyone very much. One light is so small, and the world is so big and dark!! But your little light may be just enough to bring someone in before they run out of fuel and faith and crash and burn. I hear sputtering engines and feel eyes searching for light every night. Do you? We think of Jesus as the light of the world, and indeed, he is, but what about you? Jesus said: "You are the light of the world......let your light so shine that people may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16) In this dark world of sin and sadness, where so many have lost their way, hold your little light high. You never know who may be out there in the dark hoping, praying and looking for a little light

When we teach children the song "This Little Light of Mine", let it be a reminder that we all have a little light. So, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.