CHILDREN’S PICTURE BOOK

LIGHT BEARERS

 

 My Dear Children,

 

 Walking one evening along a country lane in France , my sister and I found some glow‑worms in the grass near the hedge.  We were curious to test the power of the soft greenish lights carried by the little creatures, so I laid one on an open book ‑ my pocket testament, I think ‑ and was interested to find that I was able to read by the assistance of its tiny lamp.  Later, in China, travelling up the river Min, I saw a lovely sight.  It was evening, though not yet dark.  Our boat was tied up for the night, and, looking across a strip of water to the bank, I saw some low bushes literally alive with fire-flies!  The brilliant sparks ‑ living jewels hovered ceaselessly to and fro, the insects themselves invisible to me, their presence only to be traced by the light they carried.  Some time afterwards, a fire-fly strayed into my bedroom, and I was able to examine the sober brown insect at close quarters.  Looked at in broad daylight and in prosaic surroundings it seemed very unlike the dancing jewels which I had seen by the river.  Yet just such modest-looking brown insects had carried those radiant lights.

 

 Do not glow-worms and fire-flies remind you of Christians who, having no beauty or distinction in themselves, are yet called to bear the light of Christ?  There are many little acts of service which even a child can do for the Lord Jesus' sake.  But remember you cannot shine for Him unless He Himself has kindled your light.  “I am the light of the world,” He said. (John 8: 12).  But to His disciples He also said, “Ye are the light of the world.”(Matt. 5: 14).  His light is His own - for He is light.  Our light is not our own, but derived from Him.  No mere kindness of natural “good-nature” (so-called) but only actions prompted by His Spirit and done in His name will be owned and approved by Him.  In John 1 it is said of the Lord Jesus “in Him was life; and the life was the light of men The light we receive from Him is to be translated into the smallest actions of our everyday life.  We need wait for no great opportunity.  It takes only a tiny hole in the shutter to let a ray of sunshine through.

 

 The Rev. T. P. Johnston tells the following incident: “Opposite the house where I once lived stood the cottage of a poor widow, with a few flowers outside, that were her delight.  The woman took ill, and lay long in bed.  Many people showed her kindness.  From my window I could see the doctor go in at the door, and kind ladies who brought comforts for body and mind.  But there was one who showed her a very real unobtrusive piece of kindness.  It was a little neighbour girl.  She did not call to enquire, nor go in at the door, nor make herself seen in any way.  But she came bringing her watering-pot and watered the poor woman's flowers, that would certainly have died in the hot summer sun.  This she continued to do every day till their owner was better again.  The very first day the widow was able, she came tottering out to see her pets, and there they were, all alive and well.  I wonder if she ever knew who kept them alive!  I do not know.  But I saw the little girl do this, and remembered it, and I know that God saw it and remembered it

 

 If our little everyday actions are controlled by Christ's life in us, He will keep us from dishonouring Him when great trials come.  In a book of true stories called “The Good Shepherd and His Lambs” the writer tells how Clement – “the eldest brother, who used to cut the bread, and, set the chairs, and see that everyone, was helped,” was absent one tea-time, and soon the sad news reached his home that he had been found drowned.  He must have been reading, as was his wont, on the shore, and not have noticed the tide coming nearer and nearer till the water locked him in.  “But,” says the writer, “whilst the water was gathering round Clement, the Lord gave him courage and calmness to think of those who loved him, and he wrote for them words more precious than I can tell. I have read these words, and you shall read them too His parents, searching mournfully along the shore for anything that might have belonged to him, picked up a Bible and one or two of his books all stained with salt water.  It was not till next day that they noticed and read these his last words, pencilled on the fly-leaf of the Bible, as he sat face to face with death:-

 

“ ‘In danger, I now declare that I do trust in Jesus my own Saviour, and have trusted for about five years, I know that my sins of heart and action have been many and grievous, but now I do pray to God to forgive me for the sake of the perfect work of Christ, and to help me to do His will, and to receive me to safety and holiness with Himself.  I ask God to bless my father and mother, and to give them the comfort of His Holy Spirit, and to keep all my brothers and sisters in His faith and fear. ‑ Clement K. Layton.'

 

 “Sometimes, as his brothers Robert and Aleck walk on the sands, rough men come up, and, with tears, speak of Clement, and tell how he had read the Bible to them and tried to lead them to his 'own Saviour' in whom he trusted

 

 Thanks be to the Lord Jesus Christ for His light bearers

 

 Your affectionate friend,

 

 HELEN RAMSAY