This is a quote by Father James Keller, a Roman Catholic Priest and one of the original T.V. evangelists. He was a founder of the Christophers, a group that broadcasted inspiration Christian messages on television.
I don’t know why or when he said this quote, but it is very relevant for today.
We live in dark times – just read your newspaper or watch the nightly news and you’ll see the darkness we live in very clearly. The majority of the people of our world live on or below the poverty line and the gap between rich and poor is getting wider everyday. There are many reports from the U.S., the U.K. and increasingly from Australia of people in full time work having to rely on food banks to feed themselves and their families. These aren’t the “unemployed wasters” we hear about who are “sponging benefits off society”, these are people in full time employment who cannot afford to eat and face the choice of paying rent or feeding their family (not occasionally when things get a bit tight, as they do for all of us, but) every week.
Homelessness is on the rise in every state of Australia and it’s effects are very evident on the streets of Melbourne (just ask Bubba). Poverty’s claws are gripping more and more people and that grip is getting tighter and tighter.
And we live in a buoyant economy, a place where people are eager to come and live, so eager that they will risk the seas in unsafe boats, will risk the camps like Manus Island, will risk everything to escape to a better land to get locked up. And what they get is better than what they left – what does that tell us about the world in which we live?
Now I’m not going to go on about politicians (a backbencher earns $195,130 p.a.) or the massive budget cuts to education, health, foreign aid etc. I won’t mention the $24billion being spent on war planes (that we don’t need), or how ‘spreading the cost fairly’ means an average worker pays more to the government while the super wealthy actually pay less in real terms. I won’t use terms like fairness and equality. I will not concentrate on things I can do very little about, I am but one small voice.
Instead I’ll light a little candle in the darkness. My little candle, a light that says I will do my little bit to help those around me. A light that says the darkness cannot win while I’m still here.
I will not be able to do much, a meal here, a few dollars there, a lift when needed, just a smile and a word of encouragement. Small things, easy things, worthwhile things. I will not discriminate as to whom I will share my little light with and if anyone wants to take it and pass on it on I will be delighted, for my candle will lose nothing lighting another one.
I will do this because I believe it’s what Jesus would do – he would love those around him, he would make a difference.
I really don’t care why you do it – do it because your faith requires it; do it because you are a humanitarian and want to help others; do it because you believe it’s what God would want you to do; do it as a form of rebellion to annoy those in authority; do it because no one else is; do it because everyone else is; do it because it’s trendy; do because you’re an anarchist; do it because you can; do it for whatever reason – just light up the darkness around you a little bit.
So, if you’ve read this far, light your own little candle of hope, stand defiantly in the darkness, spread the words, do the deeds and sing with a growing number of us….
“This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.”