Saturday, September 13, 2014

This Little Light of Mine

While my art class of Nursing Home residents drew a picture of a violin, we listened to a CD of Pavarotti.
"We should always have music while we draw," suggested one lady.The others agreed. Then "Ave Maria" began pouring out of the magnificent tenor's voice, and one of the sweet elderly women began singing along. I asked her if she knew the words. She laughed and said, "Oh no!"  but continued singing what sure sounded like the same words Pavarotti was singing. It's hard to tell when it is all in Italian, the only word of which I know is "rigatoni."

Later, the Activity Director showed up and asked if everyone would like to sign their work, and she would hang them in the hallway for other residents to see.
"Oh no!" they all said.
"Hey!" I chastised, "God didn't give you this talent to hide under a bushel!"
"Hide it under a bushel, no!" sang the sweet woman now, switching from "Ave Maria."

We both sang, "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine." She waved her finger like a candle along with me, just like we had been taught in Vacation Bible School.
"So," laughed the activity director, as we finished our song, "Will you sign them and let me hang them now?"
"No," said the others.
The sweet lady wagged her finger at them,  "Hide it under a bushel, NO!!!"

We did not convince the elderly artists to display their work, but they were pleased nonetheless with how well they had drawn their violins.  Later, I thought about the tendency to be shy in showing one's talent before others. In terms of spiritual gifts, we are clearly to use them with the express purpose of building up the body of believers. One commentary I read about using one's spiritual gifts fully said we must always guard against prideful display, but we should not shrink back from using our gifts to edify, encourage, and exhort others in God's kingdom. Sometimes our humility is really cowardice, and work in the Lord we should be displaying is hidden. Paul said that if we must boast, be sure it is in the Lord. We are not to boast of our gifts, but in the One who bestowed those gifts upon us. In so doing, we sometimes spur others on to labor more diligently and more joyfully in the Lord.

As we got in the elevator, one elderly man from my class thanked me for teaching him. His picture was on a tray on his walker. As we left the elevator, one of the workers stopped him, "How was art class?" she asked.
He held up his work happily, "It was great. Would you like to see what I drew?"
I smiled, humming, "Hide it under a bushel, No!" as I returned to my car.
Jeremiah 9:24
but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD.

1 Corinthians 1:31
Therefore, as it is written: "Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord."

1 Peter 4:10 

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:

Romans 12:6 

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them...


  1. Thanks for this, Vicky. I'll highlight your post on the Christian Poets & Writers blog - - and pray for God to help us use our ministry gifts to ignite our readers and reunite the church Body of Christ in Jesus' Name.