Use It or Lose It

“And He was saying to them, ‘A lamp is not brought to be put under a basket, or under a bed, is it? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand? For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has anything been secret, but that it would come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.’ And He was saying to them, ‘Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.’”—Mark 4:21–25 (NASB)

The Bible has a lot to say about light. I mean, right away in Genesis 1:3 God says, “Let there be light!” Then He saw it and considered it good. Yep, light is good, God is good, and both reveal.

Throughout the Bible, light is metaphorically used to represent a few things: life, truth, His Word, salvation, revelation, and God Himself. Within God is the fountain of life—in His light we see light (Psalm 36:9). In just those few words, we see how God is life, He is light, and how we gain understanding from and within that light.

Which brings us to today’s Scripture. Jesus presents a lamp (light). He explains how it’s not meant to be kept hidden but should be displayed. But is He really talking about a lamp? Of course not. Jesus employs a parable. The light exemplifies the understanding we have of God and the wisdom we receive from God. We are not to hide what He reveals to us; we are to bear light and give light (Matthew 5:14). In other words, we are to share what we know. Jesus models this by explaining His parables to His disciples and provides us with the Holy Spirit to reveal all things (John 14:26).

Furthermore, Jesus exhorts us to “take care what [we] listen to.” The word “care” here implies perception, discernment, and to discover by use. Simply put, consider what you hear, differentiate truth from deception, and take heed in how you apply and share wisdom.

Jesus then gives a bit of encouragement and a warning. Basically, if we want a full measure of understanding—if we ask, seek, knock, and commit our time to gaining spiritual wisdom—we will be given a full measure, plus some! Luke presents it this way in his gospel account: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you" (Luke 6:38 NIV).

Again, we see the idea of giving, sharing. Yet, Jesus warns if we keep spiritual enlightenment to ourselves, less and less will be given us. It’s a “use it or lose it” idea I pray we don’t fall prey to.

Light is an incredible source of energy, power, growth, and life. It’s revelatory in nature and embodies and typifies the living Christ. The Bible begins with God giving light and ends with Jesus as the Light (Revelation 21:23). Go share that with someone.

PAUSE: In James 1:5 (NASB), James writes, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” In verse 17 he then writes, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” Read the Book of James (it’s short) and then do the exercise in the Practice section below.

PRACTICE: Write down what you learned when you read James’ letter. Do you see James doing exactly what Jesus said to do? What wisdom does he share?

PRAY: Jesus, You are the Light of the world! And there is no darkness within You. Yet, Lord, the world is dark, and many do not know You. Father, I want to receive a full measure of spiritual wisdom and use what I’ve learned with others. This little light of mine, I want to let it shine!

About the Author

Pastor Dan Hickling

Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.