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Written by Todd Gibbons

The Summer Olympics in 1936 were held in a hostile and prejudice Berlin, Germany. Just three years after these games, the Nazi regime would move to attack Poland to start World War II. Leading up to these games, Adolph Hitler had made it clear that they did not want Jewish American or African America athletes to attend, which forced a young man by the name of Jesse Owens into an unfair and undeserved decision.

As the son of a farmer and grandson of a slave, Jesse Owens had to decide whether or not he would avoid further persecution and hatred because of the colour of his skin and either choose not to compete and miss the opportunity to be a part of history, or go and be a light among darkness. Ultimately, Jesse Owens made the incredibly brave and bold decision to go to Berlin and compete against the Nazi ideals, where he captured four gold medals. He broke two Olympic records and won the hearts of thousands after he won the 100-meter sprint. The entire stadium erupted in cheers for Jesse Owens, as Adolph Hitler stormed out of the stadium refusing to congratulate the young American athlete.

Choose to go, choose to shine!

To shine is a choice you have to make: a decision, a step of faith, a risk you have to take. We have not been designed by God to sit back and be spectators, but to battle and participate in the mission that Jesus started; to love God, love people, and to go into all the world and make disciples. To shine as Jesus shined.

One time, when Jesus was teaching, He used a story to tell the disciples and us that we are the light of the world. “You are the light of the world — like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see…”

What good is a lamp shining in a room full of other lights?

In order for a shining light to be effective it needs to function in darkness. What good is a lamp shining in a room full of other lights? We are called by Jesus to be a light in darkness, not a light among other lights, but to go where there is no light and shine for all to see. The full effect and the full impact of your light won’t be felt or won’t be useful useless you choose to go, choose to shine!

The question is, will you go? Will you make the brave and bold decision to go and let your light shine for all to see? Or will you choose to remain safe, comfortable and hidden? Jesus has placed a light in you that a world hurting and living in spiritual darkness desperately needs. But will you choose to go?

History is full of people who have had the courage to take a risk. Noah risked it all to build an ark in the desert but was the one who floated during a flood. David took a risk bringing a slingshot to fight Goliath but was the one who defeated a giant. Peter took a risk getting out of a boat during a storm but was the one who walked on water. What amazing things will God do through you when you take a risk, when you choose to go and when you choose to shine?

Overflow Youth