When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12, NIV
“They understood the assignment” is a popular phrase. It’s become a TikTok trend—the slang term describes someone who is giving 110%. To put it in seminary-talk, one might say that “Sally came rolling in with her Greek exegetical spiral bound with an exhaustive bibliography. She understood the assignment.”
One of my many roles during my nursing career included Nurse Manager. One of my responsibilities was twenty-four-hour oversight of an inpatient unit and staff. In addition to my nursing experience, managerial training had prepared me for the position. That training included instructions on appropriate professional attire. So, happy for a break from scrubs, I arrived at work one day in my stylish blue suit. After putting on my lab coat, I walked out of my office to make unit rounds. I understood the assignment!
Or at least I thought I did.
One of the very observant nurses on my staff walked up to me while I was standing outside a patient’s room and whispered, “don’t look now, but you have on one black shoe and one blue shoe.”
Of course, I looked down. To my dismay, I realized I had failed to distinguish the difference between blue and black in the dark that morning. Leaning against the wall, I looked up to see the staff bustling around, getting ready for their shift. I heard monitors beeping in the distance, and I saw a patient’s call light blinking. I knew there were more important matters at hand than the color of my shoes, so I decided to continue my day as usual, as if nothing were amiss.
My shoe experience highlights a couple of lessons that are still relevant today. First, we have physical light to show us things we cannot see in the dark—and it’s important that we use them! Second, as believers, we have spiritual light that guides our response to unexpected events. For example, I thought my assignment was to exemplify an exceptional model of nursing leadership for my staff. However, that day I learned that the actual assignment was to show my priorities, character, and identity in Christ to my team by the way I conducted myself in a potentially embarrassing situation. Regardless of the color of my shoes, I am to be the embodiment of His light!
Christians, we are just three months past remembering and celebrating the birth of Jesus the Messiah. Yet there seems to be more talk about the darkness in the world than the light of the world. News reports, online chatter, and social media posts saturate us with dark stories about the human condition. Conversations with Christians and non-Christians usually end up mentioning fear about the “darkness in the world.”
I relate to concerns about the state of the world, the fragility of our society, unanswered questions, and the sense of hopelessness some may feel. I understand the fear regarding senseless acts of force, oppression, violence, and rage—all these things lead to incomprehensible suffering. But I also see the opportunity to engage others in conversation so that I can share my hope and faith in Jesus Christ. I am reminded of Jesus’s words in John 8:12: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
There are approximately two and a half billion people worldwide who profess to be Christian. That is a lot of light! Remember that Jesus Christ is the power source for every believer, and we live as reflections of His truth, love, and character to the world.
As we look forward to resurrection Sunday, do not forget the birth of the Light we celebrated on Christmas. Remember what He did for us through His death and resurrection. Commit to walk in His light and look for opportunities to share your faith in Jesus and lead others to Him. United, we can shine in the darkness and light up the world for Christ!
Do you understand the assignment?
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:4-5, NIV
Talulah Ruger, RN, MSN (MACE, 2006) serves on the leadership team for the DTS-Houston Alumni Association. A retired oncology nurse, she is a Bible teacher, motivational speaker, and writer. Talulah is the CEO and founder of Talulah Ruger Ministries, a teaching ministry to inspire and motivate people 50 and older to use their faith experience and life stories to positively influence the now generation and the next through intergenerational mentoring. She is also an instructor for the Opened Bible Academy.