Shine Like a Star: What It Means, How to Do It

This mission trip was the first time Jane had ever been to a third-world country. She smiled at the passing faces as they explored a marketplace, but didn’t know how to handle the clash of smells and the naked chickens hanging from butchers’ hooks.

On their finally day, she and her friends piled onto a platform on rails to visit a market outside of town. At the last minute, a local lady joined them on the bamboo floor, her feet folded neatly beneath her.

As the make-shift “train” kicked into gear, Jane’s friends started a conversation, shouting to be heard over the sound of wheels on rails three dozen centimeters beneath them. But Jane couldn’t concentrate on the words.

Restless, she turned to the local lady. She longed to be able to speak with her. Instead, she did what she could do. She shuffled off her cushion and – with a smile – passed it to the local lady who had none to sit on. The lady used her hands and smile to signal “thank you” as she accepted the act of kindness.

Let’s dig into an expression which I hear so often that I barely ever stop to think about it.

Shine like a star

As Jane considered how she could show kindness to the lady on the train, she was thinking of a Bible verse she had studied in preparation for the mission trip:

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky

-Philippians 2:14-15

She liked the idea of shining like a star, but it had been little more than a cute analogy until that very morning when she had read:

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.

-Psalm 19:1-4

They have no speech, they use no words

Jane knew what it felt like to look up at the stars on a cloudless night and feel awe for the One who had such power and imagination to create them. She knew better than to bow down before the stars. They simply acted in obedience to their Creator, God, who had spoken them into existence.They didn’t need to have voices to declare God’s glory night and to reveal knowledge about Him.

They didn’t need voices to declare God’s glory and reveal knowledge about Him.

The fact was, Jane was in a foreign country and didn’t know how to say more than “hello”, “thank-you” and “where is the bathroom?” But she could demonstrate kindness to the old lady by willingly giving up her cushion without grumbling or arguing.

She didn’t need words. By smiling and surrendering something that she’d been blessed with – even something very small – she was proclaiming the work of God’s redeeming hand in her life.

She was shining like a star.

Conversation starters:

  • What can you do to “shine like a star” — without even having to use words?
  • This isn’t only applicable when there is a language barrier in the equation. When else can we shine like stars without using words? When is it appropriate to use words?
  • Have you ever felt the influence of some like Hannah?

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