Fireflies Unto The World


They lite up the sky at night when I lived in the east. It is like watching small fireworks go off every summer night. I lived as a child in the country, with plenty of trees and no visible city lights to lessen the glow of the dance of the fireflies. They were on stage almost every summer evening. The common name we called them was “lightning bugs.” They are part of the beetle family. Their lower abdomen’s light up to attract mates, but their light also ends up attracting prey. As kids we used to try to pluck them from the sky and put them in Mason Jars for safe keeping. In the dark you couldn’t see them at all. You had to wait until they lit up before you knew where they were. As kids we didn’t think of ourselves as “preying” on the “lightning bug,” we were just having fun. Fun or not, the light they emitted gave away where they were and sometimes lead to their death. On the other hand, there were those whose light led to finding their “true love,” if there is such a thing in the firefly world. The sharing of their light could bring both joy and sorrow into their life. But, to them I’m sure, the risk was worth it.

We too have a light to share. We too can be as a small display of “fireworks” that blesses the lives of those who live in the dark. In fact, we have been commanded, as members of Christ’s restored church, to be “fireflies” unto the world. Remember the words of the Savior recorded in Matthew.

“Ye are the light of the world. 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)

The Lord said, “…they were set to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviors of men” (D&C 103:9). This is our charge! To be a light unto the world. In sharing our light, we are much like the “firefly.” Our light brings great joy into the lives of many who hear our message. They accept it, and enjoy the great blessing that come from it.  I am reminded of the primary song I used to sing as a boy.

My light is but a little one,

My light of faith and prayer;

But lo! it glows like God’s great sun,

For it was lighted there.

I may not hide my little light;

The Lord has told me so.

’Tis given me to keep in sight,

That all may see it glow.

Shine on, shine on, shine on bright and clear;

Shine on, shine on now the day is here

(Children’s Songbook, The Gospel, Shine On, 144)

There are many in this world who live in spiritual darkness. Our light is “but a little one,” but each of us can be that “firefly” whose light can join with others in lighting up the sky. Combined we can help illuminate the pathway back to our Father in heaven. “Shine on, shine on, shine on bright and clear”.

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