Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Light of the Street and Dark of the House

Earlier this afternoon, Carolina came to the office to have lunch with me. Lately, we’ve been making sandwiches. I like that fancy deli turkey and cheese. So we got out the bread, meat, cheese, pickles, mayo, and the other stuff we would need and made some sandwiches there on the desk in the main office.

When we were done eating, I started working on cleaning up after us. I always finish eating a lot sooner than Carolina does, so this is a normal part of my routine. I put away the stuff that needs to be refrigerated, and threw away the used napkins. Then I got some Windex to clean off the glass surface on top of the desk. As I carefully cleaned up the crumbs and got the streaks off of the glass, Carolina looked at me and kind of shook her head and grinned, then said, “Farol de la calle, y oscuridad de la casa.”

Of course, I had to learn what that meant. “Farol de la calle, y oscuridad de la casa.” What it literally means is, “The light of the street, and the dark of the house.” What it means when you say that to someone is, “You’re a very helpful person when you’re out and about, but at home, you don’t do anything.”

While I might or might not agree with her assessment of how helpful I am around the house, I thought that concept might be worth passing on. “The light of the street, and the dark of the house.”

We all know Matthew 5:14-16, “14You are the light of the world. A city set upon a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

I think many of us have a tendency to be people pleasers. We want people to be happy with our work. We want them to like us. We want them to think highly of us. But as much as we might let our lights shine at the office, or at our school, or at the ballgame, do we turn off our lamps when we walk through the door at home?

Does your light shine as brightly in the way you make time for your family as it does for the other people in your life? Do you let your responsibilities get out of balance? Not that many of the things we do aren’t good things, but do we keep the balance that we should?


  1. Excellent thoughts, Mark! That's a great analogy. I really struggle with that. It's shameful that I know it is really important to be the same Christian at home as I try to be out in the world, and yet I still don't do it. My kids & husband deserve better than that.