I don’t know about you, but I want to be a star. Not a rock star, not a movie star, not a football star, but a star like the ones mentioned by Prophet Daniel: “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).
The Apostle Paul elaborated on this concept of the stardom of the saints when he wrote, “One star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:41). When Daniel and Paul likened the saints to stars, it was in the context of the future resurrection in the age to come. However, even now in this present age, we are supposed to shine like stars in this spiritually dark world. We should stand out like bright stars against the blackness of the night, according to the Scriptures: “Do all things without murmurings and disputings, that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:14).
Shining like stars is conditional. To shine brightly, we have to be “blameless and harmless” and “without rebuke”. We have to “do all things without murmurings and disputings”. If, as Paul states, the absence of murmurings, disputings, blame, harm, and rebuke make us shine; then we can conclude that the presence of murmurings, disputings, blame, harm, and rebuke will surely make us shine less brightly. Like dark soot on the glass chimney of an oil lamp, these flaws block out the light from the fire that burns in our heart. It doesn’t matter how much fire and zeal you have in your heart if the dirty soot is blocking the light. You are only generating heat, and radiating very little light. A star is not going to shine very brightly if it lets itself be defiled by the darkness and gloom around it.
It was a star that led the wise men to the Messiah. “Where is He that is born King of the Jews?” they inquired. “For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him” (Matthew 2:2).
The wise men were directed to Bethlehem, and as they went, “lo, the star, which they had seen in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy” (Matthew 2:9).
We are like that Star of Bethlehem. We appear in this dark world for a short time, for only one generation. We shine so that wise men who are seeking the King of the Jews will know where and how to find Him. Wise men still seek Him, as a Christian bumper sticker proclaimed. Like the Star of Bethlehem, we point seekers to Yeshua, and they rejoice with exceeding great joy.
“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11).
They rejoiced with exceeding great joy when they saw the star, but they did not worship the star. Nor did they worship Mary. They worshiped Him. The star was forgotten. The surpassing glory of the newly-found King out-shined the glory of the star. We should be like that star – eager to point seekers to Yeshua so that they can rejoice, worship Him, and present Him with gifts. Then we should be willing to be forgotten after our job is done, just like that star was forgotten.
John the Baptist was a man who was willing to be out-shined and forgotten. Some of John’s disciples were concerned when several of John’s followers started leaving him and following after Yeshua. John didn’t mind, though, because he understood that his purpose was to point people to the Messiah. “He that hath the bride is the Bridegroom,” he said. “But the friend of the Bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the Bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:29). Yeshua said of John, “He was a burning and shining light” (John 5:35). John shined so brightly because he was willing to be out-shined by Yeshua and then forgotten.
“Ye are the light of the world,” Yeshua tells us. “A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).
A man does not light a candle to set it under a bushel, and God did not create stars to put them under the crust of the earth. He created the stars and set them in the firmament to give light and direction. In the above passage, the phrases “on a hill” and “on a candlestick” and “that they may see” all suggest prominence, not obscurity. You may be obscure in a global sense. You may not be world-famous or nationally-famous. You may not even be very well-known in your local community. Yet within your sphere of influence, among those who do know you, you should be prominent: set on a hill, set on a candlestick, so that men may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Stars stand out against the black night sky. The darker the night, the brighter the stars shine. And as Paul said, “one star differeth from another star in glory.” How brightly you shine is determined by you. How much weight are you willing to bear in your service to the Lord and to His people? That will give you some indication of the weight of glory that you will bear.
Stars differ not only in the amount of glory, but also in the sort of glory they bear. We are each suited and wired by our Maker to excel and shine in different ways. Some are destined to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, or teachers. Others shine as musicians and worship leaders. Some are called and equipped to be generous philanthropists who cheerfully give millions of dollars for the work of the Lord. (We’re still waiting for one of those to join our local congregation!)
Most people are called to be common working people – just ordinary people who do extraordinary things by faith. A common working man can be a shining example no matter what kind of job he has. Years ago someone said something like this: “If you are called to be ‘just a street sweeper’, there’s no shame in that. If you are called to be a street sweeper, then be the best street sweeper you can possibly be.”
I agree, and I would add this: Remember that “Street” and “Saint” have the same abbreviation, namely “St.”. So a street sweeper can be a saint. And if you are “just a bus driver”, excel at driving. And remember that at the post office, “Drive” and “Doctor” have the same abbreviation, namely “Dr.” So if you excel as a driver, you can shine as brightly as a doctor.
In the shallow world of celebrities and sports heroes, only a very small percentage of people ever achieve stardom. And those who do become stars only shine for a brief season. In God’s kingdom, we are all destined for stardom, and we will shine forever and ever. That should encourage us when we are depressed. Old Abram was depressed about being childless one gloomy night. Yahweh told him to look up at the stars. “So shall thy seed be,” He told Abram.
If you belong to Messiah, you are destined for stardom as a descendant of Abraham, because “if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29). You are called to stardom, so be a shining example in everything you do.
(This article was originally published in Volume1 Number1/Spring 2008. You can request the entire issue in PDF on this page.)
Possibly sharing at: The Modest Mom, Mama Moments, The Art of Home-Making Monday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Titus 2sdays, Roses Of Inspiration, So Much At Home, A Wise Woman, Raising Homemakers, A Little R&R, Coffee and Conversation, Hearts for Home, Growing in Grace, Imparting Grace, SHINE Blog Hop, Grace and Truth, Fellowship Fridays.