Tag Archives: Shine

Thoughts on Sainthood

I was recently part of a conversation about ‘true saints.’ We acknowledged the fact that for most people, the term ‘saint’ brings to mind either people who are dead or who are alive but are very special because of their deep faith. It got me thinking about the richness of sainthood but also about the lack of understanding of sainthood. Unfortunately that lack of understanding leads to anemic living. That’s why I love the way the apostle Paul begins his letter to the church at Philippi.

“Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:…” (Philippians 1:1 RSV).  Paul is writing to the saints in Philippi – to all the believers in Philippi. The truth is if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are a saint. If you have received Jesus Christ as your Savior and accepted Him as Lord of your life, you are a saint. True sainthood is an assigned designation not an achieved status. It is given, not earned. It is a status for the living not for the dead. When you come to believe in Jesus Christ, you are given the destiny and dignity of being a saint.

And that empowers you vibrant living. It means you are assigned, designated, set apart to glorify Jesus. You simply need to be who you are. In the Old Testament God designated certain things and places as ‘holy’, meaning they were to be used only in sacred ways and for sacred purposes. In the New Testament God designated people as ‘holy’, to live in a sacred way and to be used for sacred purposes. Paul says your permanent address is in Christ Jesus. Your zip code may be Philippi, Corinth, New York City, South Haven, Kalamazoo, or Chicago…it may not be next year what it is today. But your permanent address is in Christ Jesus – it never changes. No matter where you live or how popular you are or are not, you are rooted in Jesus Christ and your identity comes from Him.

It also means you are special and valuable, because God has chosen to have his Son Jesus shine through you. It’s said pictorially in a little poem entitled ‘What Is A Saint?’

“What is a saint?” the youngster asked; So his parents set out to explain.
By describing Saint Francis, and Bernadette They attempted to make it plain.
They told of Matthew, Mark and Luke, and ended with John and Paul;
But the boy just couldn’t relate to this and didn’t grasp it at all.
Then the parents went to their church and showed him The stained glass windows there; The faces of the elect shone out As they preached or knelt in prayer.
The boy was asked if he understood, And he said, “I think I do;
From what I’ve seen, I’d say a saint Is a person the light shines through.”


No matter what others say or think, you are holy, you belong to Jesus Christ and He is wanting to shine His light through you.

I wonder – what if we were all more ‘saintly’ in our living, being the special persons we are. What difference would it make in our lives – and in the lives of those around us – and in our communities – and in our world? I encourage you to embrace your position and identity as a saint – let His light shine through you.


Carpe Diem Revisited

Again this year I have been struck by the magnificent beauty of our Hibiscus flowers. We have three bushes. Their flowers are amazing. They don’t bloom until later in the summer but when they do, they’re loaded – and they are gorgeous. They are big and colorful. They shine. We have 3 varieties – pink, deep red (my favorite), and white. I often go out just to stand in awe of their beauty. We even take some pictures for posterity.


Yet it’s hard to figure – in spite of all this beauty, they shine for just one day and then fold up and wither away. I mean, why wouldn’t God design such a marvelous flower to bloom brightly for a much longer period of time? To me that makes great sense. I can’t say it’s a waste because for that one day, it adds tremendous beauty to God’s creation. And perhaps that’s the point – could God be using the Hibiscus to remind us daily that it‘s today that counts? Could He be saying “When the day dawns, shine?”

I’ve thought about that a lot this week, because the Bible underscores the idea. Consider James 4:13-16 (GNB). “Now listen to me, you that say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will travel to a certain city, where we will stay a year and go into business and make a lot of money.’ You don’t even know what your life tomorrow will be! You are like a puff of smoke, which appears for a moment and then disappears. What you should say is this: ‘If the Lord is willing, we will live and do this or that.’” That’s pretty straight forward, isn’t it? Today is what counts. Why? Because tomorrow is not promised. Like the Hibiscus, all we know is that we have today to shine. So “When the day dawns, shine.”

I used to think that dwelling on the thought that tomorrow is not promised was too morbid. But i’ve become wiser. Think of it this way. Every today you’re blessed to wake and rise, immediately open up to receive Christ’s light. Then determine to let the beauty of the Lord shine through you today. Add beauty to God’s creation today. Live such that someone stands in awe of the Lord’s beauty in you today. This is the way to carpe diem – seize the day! This is the way to make today count. This is the way to make every day count. This is the way to peaceful night time rest. This is the way to receive the peace of God that passes all understanding and that will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. This is the way to light the path for those coming out of darkness so they can meet Jesus. This is the way to lighten the burdens of others so they can walk the path to Him. This is the way to let your light shine.

You don’t know what your life tomorrow will be – so carpe diem. “When the day dawns, shine.”