This one's for you . . .
This one's for me . . . all of us.
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Stars have never shined brighter than on a January night I spent in Flagstaff. It was cold and clear, with snow on the ground, and there seemed to be a light show in the dark sky. But why do I remember thatnight-looking through majestic Aspen trunks and into the dark blue? I mean, I have spent hundreds of evenings in various other places, and have certainly appreciated the stars above. You know, I believe that a star-studded sky with its radiant contrast is one of the ways our God shows off his majesty.
While I did not know it that night, Flagstaff is a Dark-Sky city, with restrictions on outdoor lighting - which means that the multitudes of stars shining brightly have little competing light from artificial sources. Symbolic ~ so symbolic.
Paul said that we will shine as the brightest stars in the sky IF . . . we 'do everything without grumbling and complaining'1
It is never pleasant to be around a complainer, yet we would have to admit we are all guilty. It is estimated that 30 to 40 percent of all conversations contain either complaining or criticism.2 Yikes!
Now not all complaining or criticism is bad, but it should be constructive. For example, something I read: we often do not speak frankly to the person doing us wrong. I was in a class where everyone was annoyed at the teacher for regularly failing to show up on time. It was an easily fixable problem, but all of us - about a dozen - complained in whispers to one another for weeks.
A few grumbled to other teachers and even spoke to the head of the entire program. But nothing changed. Finally, one brave soul broached the subject directly with our teacher. He responded graciously and started showing up promptly.'
Think of your conversations. Some of us even start conversations with complete strangers by complaining about something we are mutually enduring-like the post office line or DMV,3 right?
Don't you see, Friends? Everybody complains. EXACTLY! So, let's not be everybody-let's be different. This is so simple, but so valuable. Don't be everybody, instead, be the light of the world as Jesus mentioned by speaking words of life or keeping still. "The tongue has the power of life and death,"
4 so "let your conversation be always full of grace."5
'Always wanted to be a star? Now is your chance! 'Do not grumble, do not complain...then you will be like stars in the night sky.' You will stand out as brightly as the stars in the dark skies of Flagstaff, Arizona. That is how Christ followers should be - different from others - finding the good or keeping still (maybe seeking a solution), lifting conversation up, not bringing it down, bringing light to conversations not darkness . . .
Christians, let's shine. Let's shine like stars in the night sky.