Alpha Canis Majoris – the “Dog” star – is the brightest star in our night sky. Known as Sirius, its name is taken from the Greek word meaning “scorching” or “glowing.”

Sirus is located 48 trillion miles – or 8.6 light years – away from the earth and in our Milky Way Galaxy it is only outshone by the Sun, Moon, Venus, Jupiter and Mars.

Such is the luminosity of Sirius, astronomers expect that it will continue to be our brightest star for the next 210,000 years guaranteeing it to continue shining brightly for a long time to come!

Perhaps Paul had Sirius in mind when he encouraged the believers at Philippi to “shine like stars in the universe.”(Phil.2:15).

Earlier in the chapter he appealed to the Philippians to sort out the broken relationships that had surfaced among them and which threatened their unity. Paul knew well that the surrounding culture in which this church, and others, existed was one where humility was scorned, people trampled over each other to get to the top and toxic relationships abounded.

“Don’t be like that!” says Paul. “Live differently and show the people in the culture outside the church that there is an infinitely better way to live out our relationships with each other. Show them that qualities like forgiveness, humility, love and grace are more than just words. When lived and practiced with sincerity of heart they create a place where people are accepted and welcomed for who they are – a community of beauty and truth.”

“Shine brightly for Jesus!”

It’s no different in 2020.

As a matter of fact, I think Paul’s encouragement is especially relevant for us as God’s children at this moment in history – what a wonderful opportunity we have to shine brightly the love and life of Jesus to others who are struggling with all the changes our world is facing right now.

“I get what you’re saying” I hear you comment, “But can you give me a reason why I should shine brightly for Jesus?”

I think the following quote by John Ortberg which I read recently gives us ample reasons to “shine brightly for Jesus”:

“The chance to trust God when trusting isn’t easy is wide open. The prospect for modelling hope for a hope-needy world is trending upward. And the possibility of cultivating a storm-proof faith is always going up. This is so because certain truths remain unchanged: God remains sovereign, grace beats sin, prayers get heard, the Bible endures, heaven’s mercies spring up new every morning, the cross still testifies to the power of sacrificial love, the tomb is still empty, and the kingdom that Jesus announced is still expanding without needing to be bailed out by human efforts.

God is still in the business of redemption, specializing in bringing something very, very good out of something very, very bad.”

Earlier this year I preached on this passage about shining brightly for Jesus and a person in the congregation that day texted the following comment to me –

“The light emitted by a star lasts longer than a moment. So our legacy to our current generation should last longer than our time on earth.”

What a great summary of this truth.

Shine brightly for Jesus – our world needs to see you and more importantly, Him.

Pastor Rob Furlong.