During the late 18th century importing and exporting commodities by sea was not only in high demand, but it became one of the riskiest forms of intercontinental commerce. Frequent shipwrecks due to low or no visibility were responsible for the loss of precious life and valuable cargo. This created the need for a navigational system that would safely guide ships to harbors while staying clear of identified outcrops. Hence, the creation and design of lighthouses along the sea coasts of Europe and North America. Because lighthouses were originally lit using large candles and oil lamps, their illumination was rather dim and could only be seen from a short distance. So the biggest challenge was to have them shine strong enough for ships to see them before it was too late. This prompted engineers to search for ways to focus and increase the range of the light. In 1822, French Physicist, Augustin Fresnel (Frey-nell) invented what is known as the Fresnel lens. This multi-focal lens is what most lighthouses still use to project warning lights miles away into the sea. The concept and design of the fresnel lens is truly remarkable.
Pictured to the right is the largest (12 ft. tall) first order hyper-radiant fresnel lens in America. It was built in 1887 and cost $15,280. In today’s economy, that is equivalent to $1,200,000! That was an exorbitant amount of money to pay for this technology back then, but considering how much more it would save it was worth every penny. The lens is part of the Makapu’u Lighthouse on the island of Ohau, HI (pictured above).
Because of sin, humanity has been navigating aimlessly through life in darkness. A darkness that continues to cause countless moral and spiritual shipwrecks. Of all the things man has lost, peace with God and with one another has been the most valuable one. The wreckage gives evidence of the other tragedies we have suffered. Among them is the contempt for the sanctity of life, the redefining of marriage, the condoning of immoral lifestyles, and the corruption of the very systems that were meant to provide us with ethical stability. Hence, why you and I were chosen to be lighthouses for God. We have been entrusted with the light of Christ so that we can use it to warn and guide the spiritually lost. But unlike the dim candles and oil lamps used when lighthouses were first built, His light is the most powerful light in existence. It can not only reach all of mankind, but it can transform it and lead it to eternal salvation. However, we too face a similar challenge; the need for this light to shine far beyond our altars on Sundays. It must be visible not only by those in close proximity but by those far away where the Gospel has not reached. This is where price and cost come into play.
The urgency to improve the lighting system of lighthouses so as to prevent further disasters was confronted with little to no resistance. Unfortunately, many of us are not concerned enough with the condition of the world to willingly pay the price for letting our light shine the way it is supposed to. You see, money is needed to send and support missionaries both locally and abroad. It takes a vigorous effort to get out of our comfort zone and witness to the unsaved. And in order to truly bless others, it requires us to commit and selflessly give of our time and talents. When considering this, many of us will find every excuse as to why we cannot shine, but I bet if we were offered a million dollars we would have no problem in eliminating all the pretexts. Yet, if we really consider the priceless rewards of shining the light of Christ we wouldn’t need to wait to be asked, let alone bribed, to do what should come naturally in response to His saving grace. We would eagerly want to shine, first of all, because we ourselves have been saved by His light. And second, because we would be guiding lost souls to salvation, helping to mend the broken-hearted, encouraging and uplifting the sick and the imprisoned, bringing comfort and peace to the troubled soul, and leading the wayward back to the arms of their heavenly Father. Do think that this is worth the price—or would you still need a million dollars to shine?
Prayer: Dear Father, thank you for calling me to be a lighthouse and entrusting me with the light of your salvation. In response to this privilege, I commit to shine your light regardless of the price I must pay. Help me to realize the urgency of reaching those who are lost without a hope of eternity. Remind me that what is required of me cannot be compared to what it cost you to rescue us from darkness. In the name of your precious Son, Jesus, I pray. Amen.
“…because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the Dawn will visit us from on high, to shine on those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” -Luke 1:78,79
“But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.” -Proverbs 4:19
“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” -2 Corinthians 4:6
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free…” “Very truly I [Jesus] tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” -Luke 4:18 & John 4:12
-All Scripture is quoted from the NIV except where specified.