Be a point of light even in darkest night

Published 2:53 am Saturday, August 25, 2018

If you look up into the heavens on a clear night, your eyes can see about 3000 stars twinkling in the velvety darkness.

Scientists estimate there are over 200 billion stars in the universe, including our sun. Only God knows the exact number because He put them there. The other billions of stars are so far away that they appear as small pinpoints of light, even through powerful telescopes.

Former President George H.W. Bush has described people who volunteer their time and energy to help others as Points of Light. He said, “Points of Light are the soul of America. They are ordinary people who reach beyond themselves to the lives of those in need, bringing hope and opportunity, friendship and care.”

Bush, along with other leaders, established the Points of Light Foundation in 1990 to “engage and mobilize millions of volunteers who are helping to solve serious social problems in thousands of communities.” Their website states, “These volunteers represent all backgrounds and beliefs and range in age from 5 – 95, but share the common goal of working to make a difference.”

It’s the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. Through HandsOn Network affiliates in 250 cities and partnerships with thousands of non-profits and corporations, Points of Light engages five million volunteers in 20 million hours of service each year. The Mission Statement reads, “We inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world.”

On weekdays, the foundation announces a Daily Point of Light Award to celebrate “the power of the individual to spark change and improve the world.” As of August 20, 2018, some 6330 awards have been given to individuals nominated online by people like you and me. On that date, Amanda Smith was recognized for serving 40 hours each week as a full-time volunteer and raising half-a-million dollars for an organization providing a support system for people battling brain tumors and cancer,

President George H. W. Bush has said, “I have long believed that there can be no definition of a successful life that does not include service to others, but let me add there is no surer way to give life greater meaning, joy and purpose.”

Interestingly, some 2,000 years earlier – the Bible described the followers of Christ as “a light to those who are in darkness” (Romans 2:18). How do we shine? Jesus tells us, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

The apostle Paul instructs us, “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:14-15 NKJ).

In his 1989 Inaugural Address, President Bush stated, “We can find meaning and reward by serving some higher purpose than ourselves, a shining purpose, the illumination of a Thousand Points of Light…We all have something to give.”

Our purpose in life is to shine as a point of light. One of my favorite Sunday School songs teaches, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”


Jan White is an national award-winning religion columnist. She can be reached at