THE BURDEN OF THE LIGHT
Luke 8:16 18
How much do you know? How much light have you received? Would you say that you know more than most people
your age? Are you above average in your understanding of the things of God? To admit this is to acknowledge that
you are under the burden of the light.
When the Word of God comes into our lives, it comes as light. The knowledge is like a lit candle, or lamp. God is the
One who lights the lamp of spiritual knowledge that illumines our inner being. But when God lights the lamp, with it
He gives the burden of the light.
By burden we mean responsibility. The recipients of the light from the Word of God are responsible for that light. As
a follow up to the beautiful parable about the soils and the seed, Jesus gives the parable of the lamp. He does not
leave the subject of the coming of the Word without emphasizing in some sober statements the burden of the light.
What we do with the light is important! It is important to others and to ourselves!
I. THE PLAN OF GOD IS THAT WE SHARE THE LIGHT
"No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those
who enter may see the light." A Palestinian home usually was one large room without any windows. It was necessary
to use a lamp most of the time. Without the lamp you would not be able to see when you entered the house. Jesus
uses this common experiČence to illustrate the burden of the light.
A. The Light is the knowledge of God that comes through His Word.
God is the source of this special knowledge. He lights the lamp. To be the recipient of such light is a special,
precious privilege. There is nothing more important about you than what you have come to know about God through
B. We are the lampstand.
A housekeeper would not light a candle to put it under a pan, or under a bed. You would light a candle or lamp to
place it on a lampstand so that it would provide light for those who came into the house. In the same way God has
given the light of the Gospel to us so that we might be like a lampstand. The light has been placed in our lives so
that others might know. God does not intend for it to be hidden under the bed or the bucket
This word about the lamp stand should help us. God wants others to know what you know. This is a primary reason
that He let you know what you know. This brings up the very practical question about how we can best be the
lampstand. So many of us are very reluctant to be a lampstand. We want to enjoy the benefits of the Light without
We serve as the lampstand when we allow the light to shine through our walk. Our lives are to clearly demonstrate
to those who know us that the Light has made and is making a difference in our lives. We are to become walking
evidence of the power of the light. We make our deČcisions in light of what we know about God. We relate to people
in light of what we know about God. We conduct our affairs in light of what we know about God.
I heard Dr. Howard Hendricks tell this week of the power of such a walk. A Brazilian communČist was drawn to Christ
by such a life. He had been especially trained and assigned by the Russians to help influence the young of Brazil
toward communism. He met a young Christian who befriended him. As the days of the friendship lengthened, he was
invited into the home of the Christian. As the communist saw the difference that the Light made in the relationships
in the family, it shattered him. It suddenly dawned upon him that the message of the Christian was true. His life was
compelling evidence. He was a good lampstand.
We also serve as a lampstand when we allow the Light to shine through our words. The walk is not enough. We
must also proclaim and explain the Light. It is the worst sort of pride to think that we can live good enough to draw
men to God without verbalizing our witness. It is God's plan that the Light be extended to others through your
Dr. Elton Trueblood said, "All Christians must be in the ministry, whatever their occupations, because the
non-witnessing follower of Christ is a contradiction in terms." This is precisely the message of this parable. The Light
comes to us that we might pass it on. We have the ministry of the lampstand.
B. God wants His Word known.
Jesus stated it like this. "For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known
and come to light." This states the eternal purpose of God. God is committed to making the secret of His will known
to man. He is committed to bringing the Light to all men. This means that when you and I take on the ministry of the
lampstand, accept the burden of the Light in a positive way, we become partiČcipants with God in His eternal
purpose. Is this not a staggering thought? As you go about your daily routine in such a way that the light of God
shines through you to others, you are a partner in God's great mission. As you share verbally with another a word of
testimony, telling them what you know, you become a partner in this great divine mission. 0 that we could realize that
we know what we know that we might share it with others! This is the needed ministry of the lampstand!
II. THE PLAN OF GOD IS THAT WE USE THE LIGHT
This the last statement in this text. A part of the burden of the Light is to use and
receive it properly.
A. The admonition.
"Therefore take heed how you hear." This can really be taken as the climax of both of these great parables. When
the light comes, we must receive it very carefully. We must receive it in such a manner that we will get the maximum
benefit from it. We must receive it in a manner that is appropriate for a Word from God. So we must take heed how
we hear. What have you done about what you know? What have you done with the Light that you have received?
But the reason for this admonition goes even deeper.
C. The reason.
"For whoever has, to him will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from
him." This is a truth that our Lord used in more than one context. It is applicable to all of life. It is what is called today
the principle of atrophy You must use it or you will lose it.
This principle is applicable to all kinds of knowledge. As a high school student, I took al of the math courses that
they offered, and made pretty good grades. In our small high school the course selection was not very large, and
the teacher who taught math was a particularly effective teacher, so I took math. I made good grades in plain
geometry, algebra, and trigČonometry. As you would guess, there are very few opportunities to use this knowledge
in the ministry. Since my freshman year in college I have used none of it. I never get beyond the simplest kind of
arithmetic in the work I do. You know what has happened! Today I am helpless in this realm. I cannot even help my
children with their problems. I did not use it so I lost it. Some of the fellows who took that math with me have gone
into engineering and other such fields of study. Today they have moved far beyond that level of knowledge we
achieved in high school. They used it so they received more.
This is the principle that makes the Light a burden. If you do not properly receive the Light of God, make it a part of
your life, you will lose all of the benefits that the Light brought with it. Your life will be just as if the Light had never
come. In fact, it will probably be in worse condition. Not only will you lose it, but it will be even more difficult for you to
ever receive the Light again. Having heard it and not acted upon it builds in a natural resistance to it.
What is your response to the Light right now? Would you say that you are growing in your knowledge of God and
His will for your life? Or would you have to admit that you know less of God and His will today than you did last year?
None of us are standing still. We are either receiving more because we have accepted the burden of the Light
properly, or we are losing what we have. The principle is eternally valid that you use it or you lose it. Someone has
said a shocking thing. They said, "You know all of God that you want to know right now.'' The statement shocked me
into a painful awareness that there is an element of truth in it. I already know more of the Light of God than I am
using. This settles it that I will not know any more until I begin to make a part of life that which I have already
Will you not agree that the light is a burden? 0 how wonderful it is that God has lit a lamp for us that He has caused
the light of His Word to shine in our hearts! But what will we do with it? He means for us to share it and to use it.
I want to close this service in a very practical way. I would like for you to commit yourself to do something this very
day. Will you agree to evaluate yourself as it relates to the Light? Make a list of things God has made known to you
that you have not acted on yet. Then by the list write out what you will do about it this week. Then evaluate your
sharing of the light. With whom can you share a testimony about the light this week. This is the burden that the Light