Pathways through Lent

Lights to the Nations

Psalm 119:97–120 Genesis 45:16–28 1 Corinthians 8:1–13 Mark 6:13–29

Second chance—wonderful words! Isaiah knew them well. In Isaiah 49, the
prophet bemoans his failure to fulfill an assignment from God. “No problem,”
God seems to say, giving him a much bigger project, telling him, “I will give
you as a light to the nations.”
That story reminds me of my high school principal, Mr. Covington. He was a
wiry man, usually quiet, but tough. He once put on the gloves with a bullying
student to teach him a lesson.
I was in need of a lesson, too. I was the class jerk, always in trouble—even
throwing firecrackers on Mr. Covington’s front porch one night. I wasn’t
smart enough to make a getaway, and he caught me hiding behind a hedge.
My poor aunt, with whom I lived, was mortified by my behavior, and
everyone in town soon knew.
Not long after that, Mr. Covington fell in beside me as I walked home. Rather
than lecturing me, he began a gentle conversation about things he knew I was
interested in. We were soon talking, as it seems to me now, like buddies. I
knew that the slate was clean.
God has granted me many second chances, but that was one of the most
helpful. I became a pretty good student after that.
Lent is a time for self-examination, repentance, and self-denial. What better
time for giving a second chance to those of whom we think ill, to that cousin
who snubbed you or that coworker who crossed you? We too can be Mr.
Covingtons—and perhaps even lights to nations.
–Mike Edwards


2 thoughts on “Lights to the Nations”

  1. Dear Mike,
    How much I enjoyed your message today. While firecrackers were not my specialty, I have one story which is quite revealing about my perfectionist tendencies. I loved my 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Rodden, and was thrilled when she gave me the important position of cleaning up students’ desk at the end of the school day. I was told to put up on the black board the names of any students who had messy desks. Well, one day over half of my class had messy desks and so I put their names up on the black board. The next day, I knew something was not right. That afternoon Mrs Rodden explained to me what a perfectionist was and advised me to be a bit more flexible with my fellow students. Hopefully I have learned that perfectionism is not the best goal in life, and she was just the right person to explain that too me. Now that I have accepted the fact that I am not perfect, I have other qualities that I am trying to improve this Lent, but fighting perfectionism is always there to be reflected on.

    God Bless,


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