THE LIGHTHOUSE PRINCIPLE
Lighthouses have always fascinated me. For one thing, they are always located by large bodies of water. It doesn’t matter if it’s the ocean, river, lake or bay, I’m a fan of water views.
When traveling I always look at postcard racks to familiarize myself with the area. I have never forgotten an oversize postcard that had pictures of lighthouses in Michigan.
It was fascinating because, though all held the same importance, no two were alike in shapes or colors.
Why Bother With Light?
Lighthouses were needed to guide ships safely into port through rocky harbors. Situated in lonely places, they were built to withstand the toughest of weather conditions.
Views from the top were spectacular, but lighthouse keepers did not climb the challenging steps for the view. Their part in the mighty shipping industry was simply to make their light shine. They had no control over who would use the beams or how.
Light Still Needed
We are entering into a New Year. I’m looking forward to it, though I did not make any resolutions for it. If you’re wondering why not, I have a simple answer.
My individual resolutions have a tendency to fall by the wayside after a few weeks. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to become a better person in the new year.
That’s why the famous prayer of St. Francis of Assisi caught my attention once again. Here is the part I love:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
Each line of that prayer is a worthwhile goal. But I like that St. Francis called upon God to help him achieve them. I need that same power if I’m going to be a peacemaker or sow love. And what about forgiveness? Is that something I can easily offer on my own?
The Lighthouse Principle
It’s easy to see a world full of darkness rather than goodness and light. That’s why I want to follow the lighthouse principle this year. It may seem like a lonely business, but just as each lighthouse made a difference to ships in its area, each of us make a difference to the people around us.
Jesus spoke of his followers as light in the world (Matthew 5:13-16). His instructions were to light your lamp and put it on a stand to give light to others. Sounds like a lighthouse principle to me.
St. Francis’ prayer has more good things in it. But our light will shine brightly even with the first few lines.