Imagine two little stars rolling off the universal production line in the factory where they make stars (obvs). Having passed through quality control they are ushered into a room where they will be deployed and given their job. Some get sent to outta space…others get sent to outta outta space…others…well, you know the drill.
The two newest stars nervously await their mission. “Good luck” whispers one to the other.
In marches the head of Star Resources looking at their competency scores on a clipboard. “Right” she says, looking up over her glasses, “star number one, I am sending you to the darkest part of the galaxy. It’s super dark out there…I mean totally pitch black. It has not been discovered yet and as yet there are no other sources of light for millions of miles around.”
Little star number one gulps. It’s a big job. It’s daunting and scary, but full of potential and little star number one is full of confidence that she can change the blankness into which she has just been sent.
Little star number two braces, waiting for his commission to an equally tough area.
“Little star number two” again with the glasses, “I am sending you to…somewhere far less demanding, far less dangerous, far less lonely. I am sending you to the day time”
Little star number two feels something die inside. He tries to look happy with his assignment for he knows he will be surrounded by other light sources, that his job will not require much of him and that he will have lots of people to talk to…but he was created to shine in the dark!
In the bit of Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi that we read today, Paul sets up this exact situation…only you and I are the stars. It may well be that you feel, as a disciple of Jesus, that you are a little isolated, that you are one of a kind in whatever situation you find yourself. It might be the case that the news scares you, that the world fills you with doubt and that everyone you know thinks and acts in a way that you can’t associate with. It might feel dark. BUT YOU WERE CREATED TO SHINE, and stars shine best in the darkness.
“Shine like stars in the universe” writes Paul. What will make you shine? Humility. Love. Gentleness. Fairness, a welcoming spirit, an attitude which constantly seeks the good of others, a generosity which lives to bless those who need it, a willingness to be a part of the big picture of God rather than the small portrait of yourself.
If it’s dark were you are, Good! Go shine with all your might.