My brothers and I played an awful game when we were kids—we would take a magnifying glass and use it to burn ants. If we held it just right, the ants would start to squirm under the intensified heat.
I am not promoting, or even condoning, this unkind practice. But, there are some things we can learn about magnifying our callings from this analogy.
The prophet Jacob speaks repeatedly of his—and our—responsibility to magnify our offices, and there are many important facets to this charge, but I will focus on just two ideas learned from this story.
What are We Magnifying?
My brothers and I did not produce the warmth that the ants felt; we simply positioned ourselves so it could reach them. The source of the light and heat was the sun.
Likewise Jesus tells us, “I am the light which ye shall hold up. ” And in his mother’s beautiful psalm, Mary says, “My soul doth magnify the Lord.”
As we magnify our callings, we should not be enlarging ourselves in the lives of those we serve, but enlarging God and His love. He is the source of the light and warmth; we are merely trying to position ourselves in a way that we can bring that light more fully into the lives of those we serve.
Who Gets Recognition?
The ants could feel the increased warmth, but they did not recognize our role in bringing it to them. They had no idea that we were standing over them, focusing our efforts and attention on them.
Similarly, those under our stewardship should feel increased light and warmth in their lives, but usually they won’t and shouldn’t recognize our role in helping them feel it. We should let our lights so shine (in such a manner) that those who see our good works glorify God, not us.
Sometimes it’s frustrating to work hard on a lesson or activity and not receive acknowledgment, but we are instruments in God’s hands, and the sun—not the magnifying glass—deserves the glory. If we are bringing others closer to Christ, we are successful.
And as we bring light to others’ lives, our own lives and faith will grow brighter. Together we will all be warmed by the fire of the gospel.