Jesus talks about four kinds of people in the Kingdom when he describes the seeds sown on the soil (Matthew 13). Today I find there are these six types of people in the church with regard to how we handle our light (Matthew 5.14). They are:
Bulbs…create light wherever they are. The light often isn’t focused but it is displayed in whatever arena they find themselves.
Mirrors…reflect the light to places that the light hasn’t reached. They often have the ability to shine the light in places where the bulb can’t be or can’t be seen. They see places where the light is needed and reflect it there.
Lenses…focus the light in ways for more intense impact. They are able to take the light and by shining it through their own lens the show the impact or importance of the light. They magnify the impact or intensity of the light in ways not previously seen.
Prisms…refract the light into more variations through parsing. They are able to dissect the light into many different parts so the beauty can be seen and more easily understood in more places.
Panes…let light pass through without substantially changing it. They are able to accept the light, but don’t do much with it. Only after they are transformed through bending and do they become bulbs, mirrors, lenses or prisms.
Black holes…taking all light around it and absorbing everything. Light is only meant to be consumed. It isn’t about reflecting, focusing or parsing the light, it is about absorbing it and keeping it all to themselves. These people can never have enough light and are never content with the light they receive.
The Church desperately needs people in each the first four categories: bulbs, mirrors, lenses, prisms. God has given us the light to put on a hill and let it shine. We are all responsible for what we do with the light. Due to our personal wiring, we can’t all be bulbs, but the Church needs mirrors, lenses or prisms for the light to reach all of the darkness.
The fifth category (panes) is the people who are hanging around the church but don’t do anything with the light. We can’t be frustrated with these people but must have patience that someday they may be personally transformed into an instrument of light. We need to work with these panes that don’t transform light because one day, they will become a bulb, mirror, lens or prism depending on their calling.
The last group of people too often sucks the life (and light) out of a church for their own consumption. They care little about the light other than how will it meet my needs. Notice that each of the prior groups of people clearly steward the light they have been given for others. These people only steward the light for themselves. The church needs to avoid these people like the plague.
Who are the bulbs around your Church? And the mirrors, lenses, prisms? Do you have panes hanging around who need to be transformed? Do you have black holes that need to be dealt with?