Light of the World

My Testimony, MaryAnn Poling

John 8:12

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

Light of the world, that name for our Savior has always been a special one to me because of how I dedicated my life to Him.

I grew up in a very loving, Christian environment. I never really knew any other way of life, but one where God existed and was important. We always attended church and participated in many church related ministries.

From third grade on, I was sent to a one-week church camp every summer. I always enjoyed it, I loved meeting new people and I made new friends easily. Every year on Thursday night, they did what they called a commitment service. For a few years I didn’t understand what it was, or meant. I only knew it was always one of my favorite services.

It was the year of either my 7th or 8th grade summer when I discovered why they called it the commitment service. During that Thursday in arts and crafts, we were given banana split boats, and given the task of securing a candle in it so that it would float. That evening’s commitment service started out with worship in the chapel in the woods. After a time of singing we lit our candles and proceeded in silence to the hill by the pool. When we got there, there was a cross of candles floating in the center of the pool. It was really beautiful. I remember singing “This Little Light of Mine,” and “Candle on the Water.” After the sermon we were to place our own individual lit candle boats in the pool. One by one, we set our lights a sail. When I returned to my place on the hill and looked at all the lights in the pool I saw so much! I have no idea if anyone else got anything out of it or not, but I sure did!

As I looked around I noticed candles that had gone out, a bunch of lights all crowded in the corner, candles flickering and fighting the wind to stay lit, lights off by themselves, some of them on the edges, some in the middle, some next to the cross. Some candles had actually sunk to the bottom and some shown brighter that others. I remember thinking; I wonder which boat is mine? I had lost track of it walking back to my seat. Was mine one in the corner with all the rest? Had mine gone out? Had it sank and was lying on the bottom of the pool? Or was it shining brightly next to the cross? I didn’t know which one was mine, but I did know which one I wanted it to be. I asked Christ to enter my heart and to help me let my light shine brightly for him, forever. I took communion around the pool that night and I committed my life to Christ.

My life since then has been portrayed by many of those boats and candles, but it’s always been lit and floating. Many times I have recalled that pool and that picture and can see it very clearly in my mind. I often reflect on my life at the time and think about where my light is, how brightly is it shining and is it where I would like it to be.

If your boat were sailing in that pool, where would it be today?