Jesus is the light of the world, and we who name the name of Jesus get to represent him—even to be light. I wrote a book called Be Light because I want to expose the light that God has given us, equipping us with the necessary spiritual and intellectual tools, not to just survive but to thrive. I want Christians to be empowered by God to be light, to shine and to change our world.

As you’ll remember from the Gospel of John:

In the beginning was the word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in darkness and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:1-5, NIV).

There are striking parallels between the laws that govern light and how we should attempt to be light in this world.

By definitionlight is “something that makes things visible or affords illumination.” How often have we considered what we might illuminate? Are there people or issues that have been forgotten in the shadow of darkness that I need to bring to light? Surely those living in the shadows of poverty and illiteracy are in need of the light! We can shine light into this dark space by ensuring that all children living in poverty have access to good schools with high standards.

Light is synonymous with learning. If we are to be true lights in this world, we want to think deeply, reason well. We know that we are limited in some ways as humans, but we still long to know ourselves, one another, and our God as fully as the light of knowledge will allow. We live to dispel ignorance and abhor superstition. We need the light of learning, the light of truth to suffuse our life and radiate to others as well.

Light is also a symbol of hope. From the visible light that illuminates our world to the light of knowledge, from the warming heat produced by light to the crime-reducing effect light can have in a neighborhood, light is a unique, transforming force. What would we do without it?

Better yet, what will we do with the light God has given each of us? How will we incarnate the power of light to touch darkness, overcome it, and shine brightly in the world? How will we support educational success for all children? If we believe all children are made in the image of God, then we must be committed to their educational success. Only then will they be empowered to reach their full potential for God’s glory.

The Bible is filled with examples of the power that comes when people unify in faith. Jesus said that whenever “two of you on earth agrees about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven” (Matt. 18:19).

As individuals we are called to shine our light, but when we do so in the heavenly community of Christ’s church, our individual lights combine to be an agent of change. I invite you to join us for Education Sunday this September, as we join together to shine light on learning. With God’s transforming Spirit, we can unite to shine a laser on the value of education for every child in our communities!

Sam Rodriquez is president of NHCLC/Conela, author of Be light and The Lamb’s Agenda, and pastor of New Seasons Christian Worship Center in Sacramento, California.

[ This article is also available in español. ]