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Updated: Sep 30, 2018

This is not just a flashlight. This is a renewable light source. It has a photo cell on it, so essentially it converts light into...well...more light. But it does more than that. It converts the light into electricity and stores the energy so that it can produce light when you don't have any. That's why it's useful.

One of my core values is to chose light over darkness. I have a poster in my office that contains this quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." This renewable flashlight gives us an excellent model of how we can do that on a sustainable basis. The flashlight has four essential parts that enable it to function. Let's look at them and how they work together.

  1. The photo cell. The photocell captures light from an outside source and converts it into electricity. If you are going to be light in the darkness, you need a source of light and energy outside of yourself. You can be a light. But you are not THE light. We are spiritual beings and we need to be connected to something greater than ourselves. Something True. Something bigger than we are. Something that connects us to meaning and purpose. When we connect to that source, it gives us energy.

  2. The battery. The battery in the flashlight stores the energy for future use. Without it, the flashlight would be useless. We also have a battery. I think we actually have four. We have a mental battery, a physical battery, an emotional battery, and a spiritual battery. When we exert energy, we drain our batteries. When we rest, renew, and recreate, we charge our batteries. Right now, are your batteries fully charged or almost completely drained? Have you ever noticed that your cell phone battery will tell you that it has 0% power? It's lying to you. It still has enough power to let you know you are almost out of energy. That's how your body and brain work. They will tell you when you are physically and emotionally drained. When you are completely out of energy. You shut down. Right? If you are going to function as a source of light, you have to learn to maintain your own batteries levels.

  3. The switch. The switch on the flashlight separates the battery from the LED light bulb. This is important. If the light stayed on all the time, the battery would never charge. The flashlight would be useless without a switch. You also need to have a switch. No one can function as a light source all the time. I know that some of us grew up singing, "Hide it under a bushel? NO! I'm gonna let it shine." But sometimes you have to be able to turn it off. Or at least turn it down a little. Even Jesus took time to get away from his followers and his work to recharge. Even Jesus said no to people. Even Jesus set boundaries. And He said "I am the Light of the World." We should follow his example. We need to know when to say no. We can't function as light all the time, everywhere, for everyone. We need to use the light we have appropriately. We cannot eliminate all the darkness in all the world. But we can bring light to some of it. And shining a bright flashlight directly into the eyes of someone who is walking in darkness does not help them see. Trust me, we used to to it all the time at church camp. It just temporarily blinded them and made them angry.

  4. The light bulb. This flashlight has an LED bulb, not an incandescent bulb. Do you know why? The LED bulb is more durable, and more efficient than an incandescent bulb. LED bulbs produce more light and less heat. Can you figure out where I'm going with this? Many people who try to function as light in the world end up wasting energy producing more heat than light. If you constantly cause conflict, friction, and opposition, you are going to waste energy producing heat and limit your ability to product light. You can increase you durability and efficiency if you focus on producing light, not heat.

Some of you know the old gospel standard, "This little light or mine, I'm gonna let it shine. " If you know it, sing it. And do it. I hear lots of people complaining that we live in dark times. It's still better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness. You are the candle. Or the flashlight, in this case. Shine. #shine, #inspiration, #positiveinfluence

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