Thursday, November 4, 2010

Let Your Light Shine

I recently purchased a little devotional book from our Public Library- the library has an ongoing book sale, and for a time was offering a special of "buy a bagful  for 2 dollars" - they provided brown grocery bags, and you could stuff all the books you could into one bag for only 2 bucks! I got several children's books, some religious books, and some fiction...I figure at a price like this, if you get a book you don't like you can throw it away, and you have helped the Library a little bit. This little book is one of my New Treasures! I have really enjoyed reading it and plan to share bits from it here...

I guess you can tell from this title that it was written many years ago...1959 I think. I have tried to contact the author but so far unsuccessfully...

Here is the original devotional from page 102.

The Light of One Lamp
"In the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, you shine as lights in the world." Phil. 2:15.

Two hundred years ago Philadelphia was a city of blackness as soon as the sun went down. Although the city had grown to seven thousand, no honest person would venture out at night for fear of robbers and scavenger dogs that lurked in unlighted streets. John Clifton, a quiet man, did the one thing that one man could quietly do about it. He fitted a lamp to a post near his door, and every night the lamp was lighted. People saw the difference a lamp could make, and soon hundreds of lamps pushed back the darkness.

What a lesson for our world, cringing in the darkness of fear and despair! We can each light our lamp of hope and courage. Those who see these lights will know that God is the source of power for our lights and that he is sufficient for every need. Today glorify your Father by doing the best things in the worst times.

Prayer:  O God, when those about us are paralyzed by fear and despair, give us the courage to stand up and be counted for the cause of righteousness. Make us as lamps that show forth Thy light. Through Christ. AMEN.

I did some online research to try to find this story's background, and found some of Benjamin Franklin's writings that give a little more information that validates this story. He wrote that some people were crediting him for lighting the city (of Philadelphia) but that the honor belonged to the late John Clifton. He was the first to demonstrate the usefulness of public lamps by lighting one and placing it at his door after dark. Benjamin Franklin did say he changed the design of the lamps to enable the smoke to escape, thus keeping soot off the glass and helping the lamps stay bright until morningtime. He said, "The solution was so simple it's a wonder to me that the people of London put up with such poor lighting. Then again, Londoners love nothing more than to sleep all day, stay awake all night, and complain about the high price of candles." (from the book Ben Franklin: America's Original Entrepreneuer by Blaine McCormick)

Dosen't that last bit about Londoners sound just like Franklin?! The book goes on with a few more remarks "Some readers might think smoke and dust to be trivial matters not worth relating in one's life story. Certainly, dust blown into the eyes of a single person or a single shop on a windy day is but a minor irritant. Yet this happens frequently in a city as large as Philadelphia, and dust blown into the eyes of the entire population can shut down a city. So think carefully before you turn away from those who give attention to small matters such as these. Human happiness is not so much a result of lucky events that rarely come our way. Rather, happiness is more often a result of the little advantages that accumulate every day."

actor Burdette Parks as Benjamin Franklin

Whale oil lamp from
Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia
image may be used to promote Philadelphia and
the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary,

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