It’s all about the positioning.
And the intentionality of the act of lighting. Of finding the oil, getting the base steady enough so it won’t topple over, finding the right amount of cover so that the a stray gust of wind won’t snuff it out, and positioning it so it’s of the maximum use to people.
Lighting a light takes planning and time, if you want to do it right, and not have to come back to it time and again to keep re-lighting and re-positioning.
When you light something in a particular position, you also accept that there’s somewhere where the light may not reach, but that’s ok. You’ve positioned the light so it will be effective where you feel it’s needed and so no need to worry about where it won’t be seen. In the big picture, there’ll be other lights on, so no one gets lost.
And the final effect? People find their way to where they are going, what they are looking for, and can see one another clearly, as well as themselves. Sometimes, they’ll realise what they are looking for isn’t that great after all, and start a new journey to look for something new. Other times, the light will point out dangers looming in their path for them to avoid. Or ensure that other people can find them to give them a helping hand. And we can choose to journey with these people.
When we light our lights well, we save lives.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matt 5:14-16