Christ: The Light of Life (11/05/02)
By Robert A. Schuller
I have one of the most
beautiful topics that I'm speaking on this morning. I have spoken
on it probably twenty times. It is the familiar text in the Bible
when Jesus Christ declares He is the Light
of the world. He is the Light in my life and I want to share why
I make such a statement. First of all, Jesus Christ
lights my way. He gives me the vision to dream, then
He gives me the courage to try and not be afraid of failure. Through
following His principles I experience real
success. Yes, Jesus Christ is the Light
that overcomes the darkness of negativity.
The theme of
light is throughout the Bible. It is there at the very
beginning of creation,
God spoke and there was LIGHT."
And we see how God
provided light in the Exodus
of the Israelites from Egypt,
"And there was before them a pillar
of LIGHT which guided them
through the wilderness by night."
again in Proverbs,
the law is the LIGHT that
lights our way." (Proverbs
And then we read the
words from Jesus Christ in the Gospel of St. John:
am the LIGHT of the world, whoever follows Me will never walk
in darkness but will have the LIGHT of life."
It is interesting to
realize that when Christ shared those words it was directly after
He saved a woman from being stoned to death. Remember the woman
who was being accused of adultery? And how the religious leaders
and the people of that time, including her husband, picked up
stones to stone her. But Jesus intervened and said, "Let
the one who is without sin cast the first stone."
And one by one all of them, yes, each
one walked away and the woman's life was spared from
the darkness of sin to a life of light
through Jesus Christ.
It was at the time
of the special celebration called the Feast of Tabernacles ¡K
the Feast of Tabernacles was held in the inner courtyard of the
Tabernacle where there were huge chandeliers. And the younger
priests would ascend ladders to light all of the candles in each
chandelier. It was said that this incredible light would light
up the entire city of Jerusalem. I suspect that was a bit of an
exaggeration, but nevertheless, this incredible light would shine
brightly, bringing light to the entire region. It is then that
Jesus said these powerful words,
am the LIGHT of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk
but will have the light of life. (John 8:12)
In this statement we
see the Creation, we see the Exodus, we see the Commandment and
the new Covenant of God all wrapped up into this one life, this
human being named Jesus Christ. Whoever follows Him will not have
to walk in darkness, stumbling through life.
You know we don't even
understand what darkness is any more in our society. We flip a
switch and the lights go on. The sunset doesn't change our way
of living very much. If you want to play golf, you can even golf
at night, they have lighted golf courses. There are batting cages
at night, if you wish to go and play baseball and sport fields
are ablaze at night with huge lights in every major city.
If you're following Jesus Christ, He is a
Light in a dark world for you, no matter what your
quest is. I think of people who have come so close to allowing
the vision of their dream to slip away from success. The greatest
people on planet earth have come so close to missing their greatness.
To Believe in Your Dreams
I've been studying
recently the great people who have had tremendous success. One
person I studied recently is Luciano Pavarotti. We all know that
name, Pavarotti, the world's greatest opera singer. (Whenever
I'm in the shower, I pretend I'm Pavarotti.) His grandmother,
while bouncing him on her knee would say, "You're going to
be a great man some day." And Pavarotti's mother told him,
"You're going to be a wonderful banker." If his mother
had what her dream for his life, Pavarotti would not be singing,
he would be a banker today. There is nothing wrong with bankers,
it is just that God gave Pavarotti a special gift and for him
to ignore that gift would be a tragedy to society. Pavarotti became
a schoolteacher, but at the age of 22 he made a decision to take
a leap of faith to quit teaching school and to become an insurance
salesman. Could you imagine that? And he started to study voice.
How close did Pavarotti come to never singing? How close are you?
How close are you to missing out on your dream? How close are
you to failing to follow your vision?
This week I went to
see the movie, "The Rookie." It is a fabulous movie.
It's a true story of the life of Jim Morris. How close did he,
the world's greatest athlete, come to never even trying out? The
only reason he tried out for baseball was because his high school
baseball team, which he was coaching, made a bet with him and
he lost the bet. And as a result he had to go and try out for
his team. As a young father, he is at the ball field wheeling
the baby, changing the baby's diaper, and taking care of the two
other toddlers. As he holds the hands of his children, he is called
up to try and pitch. It is an amazing story of his exceptional
talent. He has a pitching arm that leads him to the major leagues.
Says "I Can!"
The problem with our
society today is we don't understand what success is. Too many
people think that success is making the major leagues ... Or success
is having the plaque on the wall ... Or success is having the
right number in our bank account. But according to Jesus, that
has nothing to do with success. Success is accepting the challenge
to follow the light. That's
what Jesus Christ does for us.
Success is getting
up off your chair and saying, "I
can. I can move forward." Failure isn't failing
to get the gold. I look at all of the athletes who competed in
the Olympics this past year. There were many who did not get the
gold medal, but every single one of them, without question, was
a success. I guarantee you; there isn't a parent whose shirt wouldn't
be bursting at the seam if their son or daughter was on the Olympic
team. It doesn't matter whether they got a gold, silver, bronze
or no medal at all ¡K they made the team. They took the
steps and they succeeded. And we need to realize that if we are
going to succeed we have to try out. Jim Morris was a success
as soon as he went to that tryout. Pavarotti was a success as
soon as he quit teaching and followed his dream to be a singer
and started taking his vocal lessons.
My father, Robert Schuller,
was a success the minute he went into seminary and said, "I'm
going to be a minister." If you are not following the dream
that God has for your life, you're not following Jesus Christ.
The light has been extinguished. And this morning, I want you
to hear the words of Jesus Christ... "I
am the LIGHT of the world."
There comes a time
in your life when you say, "I'm going to follow my dreams."
It doesn't matter how old you are. It doesn't matter how poor
you are. It doesn't matter how big or small you are. It's just
a matter of taking the steps, following the call and being the
person that God has called you to be. You might stub your toes.
There are going to be some challenges. That's the way the world
looks at it, not the way God looks at it. God just wants you to
take the steps.
No Fear of Failure!
might face some failures. There are very successful people who
fail in various ways. You would think that big high level corporations
who spend thousands of dollars in packaging were successful. Millions
of dollars are spent in packaging so the market should be pretty
foolproof ... but listen to this: 
On a Sears
hairdryer, this is what it says: "Do
not use while sleeping."
How About this one
on a bag of Fritos corn chips: "You
can be a winner. No purchase necessary. Details inside."
This next one took
a lot of expert thinking. Somebody sat down to write the directions
on how to use Dial Soap. This
is what the package reads: "Dial
Soap. Directions: Use like regular soap."
This next one is brilliant.
Swanson Frozen Dinners: "Serving
Tiramisu Dessert - I'm giving you the brands so you
can examine for yourself that I'm not kidding you. On
the bottom of the package is printed: "Do not turn upside
down." It's a good thing I didn't turn it upside
down to read the warning.
and Spencer Bread Pudding: "Product will be hot after heating."
On packaging for a
Rowenta Iron: "Do not iron clothes
on the body."
Oh - on Nytol
Sleep Aid: "Warning, may cause drowsiness."
And this one is on
almost every Christmas light package you buy: "For indoor
or outdoor use only."
The most hilarious
of all is the American Airlines package
of nuts: "Instructions: Open packet, eat nuts."
That's true. That's American Airlines.
Here's the point. These
are well-paid professionals! I promise you that you can do anything
better than that. No matter what your dreams are ... no matter
what God has called you to do ...success is spelled not in the
accomplishment of the goal, but ... success
is taking the steps and playing the game, getting up in the morning
and doing something to carry that dream to its fullest extent.
If someone has ever
told you are gifted, or you have a talent, or you should be doing
something special, then this message is for you. You need to develop
that talent. Where do you think it came from? Hear the words of
Jesus who says,
am the LIGHT of the world. Follow Me and you will have the LIGHT
What do I do? I follow
Jesus, He lights my way and
He will show you the way if you just have the faith to follow
His positive dream for your life.
Dear God, I thank You
that this is a time when I can make a decision to move forward
and be the person that You have called me to be ... to follow
my dream ... to go where You have called me to go. And so, O Lord,
You have declared that You are the light
of the world, that You will lead my path and that You
will give me the light to
shine in the darkness. So give me the faith, Lord, to be a in
a light in a dark world following
You and to move where You want me to go. I thank You, Lord, and
I praise Your name. Amen.