"Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life" (Philippians 2:15).
I've been thinking about stars recently--you know the kind we see in movies and tv, the ones who sing. The ones whose names are in our minds as the Academy Awards loom. Someone like Aaron Rodgers, are homegrown Chico kid, who's leading the Green Bay Packers to the Super Bowl next weekend. Why do we idolize them? What's the basis of their star power? Here's what I think: At its best, the fame of stars makes us yearn for their influence, to make a difference in the world. (At the worst, they give us an excuse not to do anything with our lives... but I'll save that for another post.)
So that brings me to this passage from Paul's writings where he tells the early Christian community in Philippi (now in Macedonian) that they could "shine like stars," that they could give their light to the world around them. In other words, that their light wouldn't be for their own sake, but for the benefit of others.
And to the right are some real stars--some of our college students at Chico State and Butte (along with a few advisors) who took a week of their winter break (specifically January 16-22) to build houses for four poor families in Baja California. They took a week where they could easily have been skiing, sitting at the beach, watching video games, or a host of other distractions. Instead they decide to serve others. And I can tell you, it made a difference to those families who received the keys to their new houses with tears in their eyes.
And that gives me hope. In my eyes, those, and many like them, are the real stars.