As the sun climbs its way through the clouds, the lightkeeper blows out the wick of the lantern, saving its brilliance for another night. Long hours in the blackness does not weary him. For he knows the light is victorious over the night. He protects its temple as if his life depended upon it. He polishes the lens of the lantern room, ensures the fixtures, repairs any damages, shines the brass, keeps the boat in working order, and maintains the integrity of the effectiveness the lighthouse has over the night. As the sun lies down on a bed, blazing red, along the horizon, the lightkeeper trims the wick, pours the oil, and sets the lantern aflame into the impending night. Despite the redden skies, the lightkeeper shadows the night expectantly. Keeping a firm eye out on the horizon. Hours press on, the darkness blankets the land and stars. The lightkeeper sensing the dangers surrounding him keeps his peace and wits about him. At any moment, the wind could come raging, the seas pounding, and the blackness crippling anything that is within its grasp. He has to be sure, steady, and anticipating the troubles he does not see. The pressure of the insufferable murk is tangible, and its grip tight around the tower. Nevertheless, the lightkeeper checks the oil of the lantern to ensure its usefulness to the unforeseen need and feeling prepared, he gives in to the heaviness of the night.
Suddenly, lightning cracked against the horizon, and for a moment, the lighthouse shared the light of the night. The eyes of the keeper sprang open, his heart disheveled from the abrupt awakening of the slumber of sleep. He checks the pool of oil sitting within the lantern and reclaims his peace. In the midnight hours, the lightkeeper takes a hard look into the raging sea. The rotating flame spots a ship in the distance in peril and in dire need. The keeper makes his way to the dock, to the boat lending help to the distressed. Guiding his rescuee to the Rescuer. The storm came like a thief in the night. A ship caught unprepared in the hazards of the sea. A keeper of the light pursuing his purpose, maintaining the fire above to reach into the depths of the night to draw those who are lost to the tower shores. A beautiful connection, an enduring relationship, a wooing of the heart, between those who are lost, those who keep the light, and the light that draws them near.
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” Matthew 25:13
The world today is a perpetual storm. Storm of information, storm of political views, storm of identity, storm of religious beliefs, storm of “truths”, rights, freedoms, equalities, storm of what is right and what is wrong, storm of opinion, storm of misinformation, storm of education and re-education, storm of fact vs. fiction, storm of educated vs. ignorant, storm of racial injustice, storm of hate, storm of isolation, storm of division… The list forever revolving and evolving. No one is immune to the storms. Everyone participates and gets caught in it–myself included–especially me. Please understand that I am not negating the severity of the issues listed above. They are a list of symptoms and birth pains that the world is currently and has been enduring. It is easy to get lost in the sea of storms. However, the storm that is yet to come will come like a thief in the night. The ultimate storm of God’s judgement against sin. God is calling His church to keep the light, to be a lightkeeper in the midst of chaos and hatred.
What does it mean to be a lightkeeper?
Every light house has a light keeper. Someone who maintains and keeps the lighthouse light in working. This requires an immense amount of work and effort. Since the storms come unexpectedly, the light keeper must be ready at any given time to light the wick of the lantern and have enough oil to last through the night. The lightkeeper also maintains the grounds of the light house. He cuts, trims, and manages the landscaping surrounding the lighthouse, as well as, painting and revitalizing the aesthetics of the structure. He keeps the lighthouse looking bright, shiney, new. He takes great care to ensure each part of the lighthouse’s function is without fail that it remains effective when ships are caught in the perils of the night. This is a solitary profession. One that requires very little sleep, one without breaks, one without vacations. Their is little to no glory or fame for this job, but the lightkeeper remains faithful to the purpose and importance of the lighthouse so that those who are lost and trying to find their way through the darkness can be led to safety. What a humble job, but a job that has true meaning and purpose.
What does it mean to be a “spiritual lightkeeper”?
In Matthew 25: 1-13, Jesus tells the story of the 10 bridesmaids, or virgins, awaiting the bridegroom to come back to join the wedding feast. In Jewish tradition, weddings would last for days. After the initial ceremony, the bridegroom would leave to go prepare a place for his bride and the wedding guests. This usually took about a day. However, the bride and the wedding guests would need to be prepared for the groom’s return and to go with him when the time comes. Jesus emphasizes the importance of readiness. Only those who anticipate, keep watch, and take good care of their “lamps” will enter the kingdom of heaven.
“Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids[a] who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, 4 but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. 5 When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.6 ‘At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’7 ‘All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. 8 Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’9 ‘But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’10 ‘But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. 11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’12 ‘But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’13 ‘So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.” Matthew 25: 1-13 NLT
This parable is in a series of parables that talk about the end of the age and the coming of the Son of Man. Jesus is comparing the Church, people on Earth at the time of His return, to the ten bridesmaids that we are the awaiting party, anticipating the return of the groom to take us on to the wedding feast. There are two types of people, those who are foolish, who are unprepared, distracted, asleep, and do not believe, and those who are wise, who remain faithful, expecting, and prepared for the groom’s return. Those who are anticipating the return of the groom and have enough oil in their lamps, even though they were asleep in the moment of the return, their lamps remained burning which the groom awarded them access into the wedding feast while the foolish bridesmaids were away purchasing more oil.
There are a couple of points to this parable that I find interesting, alarming, and convicting.
- Ten Bridesmaids representing the people at the end of days: At the time that Christ returns, the people on earth will be divided in two groups, believers and unbelievers. The unbelievers cannot borrow “faith” in the moment of His return. They must prepare now while we are still waiting on Him. The other thing I find interesting about the two groups is that instead of giving the five foolish bridesmaids oil, the wise bridesmaids tell the others where they need to go to get more oil. We are the Church, the believers, and hopefully, the wise. We have the responsibility to share, direct, and guide unbelievers to Jesus, the oil of all oil. The Source. This is where they can refill their lamps with faith, so that His light will shine and never burn out. We cannot “fall asleep” in the midst of the waiting and forget our purpose for His kingdom. The five bridesmaids were wise, but they also did not take any of the unbelievers with them into the wedding feast. Perhaps the moments when they were asleep, they could have been attending to the foolish ones who neglected to bring enough oil. They could have been directing them to the source, so that when the groom arrived they would be ready, and all of them would have had the opportunity to join the wedding feast. The Church must keep their eyes on the Source in order to bring Him the most glory and to bring others into the presence of God.
- Delayed arrival of the groom: It is interesting to me that Jesus describes the groom as being late or taking longer than usual. Isn’t this the way it feels sometimes waiting on the Lord to return? The longer we wait the more tempted we are to find things to distract ourselves from the impatience of the return. It also makes me believe that Jesus knew how we would feel in the last days. He knew it would seem like God is taking an eternity to send his Son back to the earth. Two thousand years later, we are still in the period of waiting, and now, more than ever, is it imperative to stand firm in our faith and fix our eyes on the Lord. We must seek first the Kingdom of God (Matt 6:33), so that we stay alert and ready for His return. What a sweet and supernatural day it will be when all the world will see His face, fall on their knees, and profess the name of the King!
It does not matter what you have done up to this point. The Lord KNOWS you better than you know yourself. He knit you together in your mother’s womb, even before you were born, he knew you (Psalm 139: 13-14 NLT) He has numbered every strand of hair, and He call you his own (Luke 12:7 AMP). He knew each day of your life before you ever took a breath, and He still made you, loves you, and died for you (Romans 5:8 AMP). You are precious in His sight (Isaiah 43:4 AMP). He is ready and waiting to wrap His heavenly arms around you (Isaiah 30:18 AMP). Will you let Him? It is not too late! You are not a lost cause. You were made with purpose and for the glory of the Lord Most High.
So, take heart! The King is returning to take us on to glory. We must stand firm in our faith (trim the wick), stay alert to the movement of the Holy Spirit and to witness to those who are lost (pour the oil), and maintain expectancy for the Lord to fulfill His promise to His people (light the match and keep watch). We are the Lord’s lightkeepers in this thickly layered world of darkness. I feel the Lord urging His people to stay awake, stay alert, and to keep shining His light because the darkness that we see and feel now is nothing compared to what is to come. Our lights must be strong now. Our hearts must be close to His. Our attention must be on His kingdom.
Let me pray for you:
Heavenly Father, Thank you Lord for being a God who patiently waits for us. Thank you Lord for your divine grace, love, and mercy. Thank you Lord for Your forgiveness and peace. You are more than enough Lord. Thank you Lord for being true to Your word. Thank you for the hope of Your return. Lord, quicken the hearts of Your people. Help us to stay alert and our eyes focused on the Kingdom. Create in us a new and strong desire to be in Your manifest presence. Guide us Lord to do Your will in these days ahead. Equip us Lord with what we need to lead people to You. Help our spirits stay connected to Your Holy Spirit. Thank you Lord for who You are, for what You have done, for what you are doing, and for all You will do. You are Holy, You are Hope, and You are Love. In Jesus Mighty Name, Amen!
Scriptures to Study:
Songs for Worship: