It’s that time of year again when children head back to school and teachers ask students to write a paper explaining what they did on summer vacation. I’ve often thought that it would be advantageous for teachers to take this request one step further: In addition to having students write about their summer adventures, wouldn’t it be interesting to hear the possible lessons learned while on break from the classroom?

I’ve found that some of the simplest lessons are the ones that influence me the most. The lessons I learned from this year’s summer vacation were no exception. I don’t  know if it’s because my family hadn’t had a vacation in several years, or if our journey took us to parts of the country we’d never experienced. But, I soaked up every minute of vacation as we traveled from state to state. I particularly enjoyed the beautiful colors in the mountain ranges, the feeling of warm sand nestled between my toes, and the conversation and laughter in the car.

Then we arrived at Chesapeake Bay where we visited two lighthouses. I had never imagined learning so many spiritual lessons from such simple structures. Here are some things I realized about lighthouses:

  • There is nothing complex or pretentious about a lighthouse. It’s simply a tower that houses a beacon of light.
  • The inside of a lighthouse is uncluttered. The main interior structure is a winding staircase—essential in providing a direct path to the light.
  • Lighthouses were created to perform a specific purpose: To shine a light out into the darkness, safely directing boats and ships and warming them of dangerous areas.
  • Each light house is strategically placed to fulfill its purpose.
  • Because of their importance, lighthouses are carefully built for life-long stability even in the roughest weather and storms.
  • Light houses were designed to illuminate light 24 hours a day.

Are you already recognizing some of the spiritual lessons God brought to my mind and heart?

  • Our loving God created each of us exactly as He desires us to be. I don’t have to pretend to be something I’m not or work at gaining His acceptance and love.
  • God provided for us His indwelling Holy Spirit as a direct path to His truth. When I allow my life to become cluttered with unnecessary things, it hinders my connection with Him.
  • We were each created to perform a specific purpose: To shine the light of Jesus into a dark world.
  • God desires for each of us to fulfill His purpose in the work He has for us. This means I don’t have to strive to make my own way in life, but can confidently pursue God’s path for me, trusting and resting in the fact that He knows what is best.
  • Living in Christ is a life-long endeavor. As I continue to walk in the truth of His Word and trust in the power of His Spirit, I experience consistent victory over the circumstances of life.
  • The Holy Spirit enables us to shine His light of truth 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The light of Christ shines in me when I am relying on His strength rather than my own.

In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

Because God’s Word is applicable for all things, spiritual truth can be recognized in any situation, from vacations to classrooms. Are you placing yourself in a teachable position for God to reveal Himself throughout the moments of your day? Are you encouraging those around you to anticipate God’s Word coming alive through ordinary life experiences?