Reg Christensen lives in the Midwest with his wife, Carol. They have seven children and seventeen grandchildren. Reg has fulfilled a variety of callings in the Church and he and Carol have been blessed with many service opportunities as Pathway missionaries and service volunteers at the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies, to mention a few. While living in Jerusalem, they served in the Bethlehem branch, Carol as the Relief Society president and Reg as the branch president. His happy times come from being with family and friends, reading, writing, woodworking, leathercrafting, exploring nature, and blessing lives with his handyman skills. He has published several books including, Unlocking Isaiah: Lessons and Insights that Draw Us to the Savior.

Enter Reg…

Our Savior is the Light of the World. Like a lighthouse on a solid rock formation, He stands firm, true, unmovable, and forever shining bright to protect and guide us to the safe harbor of His love and gospel truth.

We Are “a” Light

Later, in His teachings to the Nephites in America, our Savior clarified our relationship to Himself as The Light of the World—He is “the” light, and we are “a” light.

“Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life. Ye are my disciples; and ye are a light unto this people, who are a remnant of the house of Joseph.” 3 Nephi 15: 9, 12

A few chapters later, this principle is explained further when Jesus declares,

“Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up.” 3 Nephi 18:24

John the Revelator gives a beautiful description of Jesus as the Light of the World, standing amidst His disciples:

And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. Revelation 1: 12-15

The number seven is a symbolic number of wholeness or perfection. The seven candlesticks represent Jesus’s disciples in various branches of His Church throughout the world. He stands in the center of the candlesticks as the Light of the World.

If we consider John’s day and what was familiar to him, rather than the wax candlesticks familiar to us, we envision seven oil lamps full of olive oil and lighted at the wick placed in each lamp. Candlesticks, or lamps, simply carry light but do not create it. Light is created and disseminated by the Light of the World, even Christ.

The Light of Christ is a universal, divine influence that guides all of God’s children in their earthly course. This light or divine power, if heeded, is what inspires and enables all of mankind to goodness. Our lives are constantly blessed and uplifted by the Light of the World, Jesus Christ.

Hold Him Up as An Example

Our mission as disciples of Christ is to hold Him up as an example to all the world. We do this by living the kind of life He has invited us to live. As we do so, we will stand out as guiding lighthouses to those struggling in darkness. Paul taught,

“That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” Philippians 2:15

We need not be perfect to shine as a light to the world. We simply need to be willing to strive to exemplify the teachings of the one who is perfect. We so strive by being

“willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death.” Mosiah 18:9.

We need not be overzealous in our efforts. As we go quietly about living our lives as best we can— being honest, being kind to all, and seeking to improve our lives as we help others do the same—we fulfill our charge to be a light to the world. I will share a few examples of how places and people, in small and simple ways, serve as a light to the world.

A Sacred Light on a Sacred Hill

My wife and I value our opportunity to serve for eighteen months as volunteers at the Brigham Young University Center for Near Eastern Studies in the Holy Land as one of the highlights of our lives.

Our responsibilities were mainly tour hosting and coordination of the humanitarian program of the university. We lived at the center—a magnificent and beautiful building in a prime location on the Mount of Olives, overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem.

The center itself is a jewel of Jerusalem. We hosted about 10,000 people on our tours during our term of service, most of them Jewish. Because of the non-proselyting agreement made with the government at the time the center was constructed, we could not share anything about Christ, except that we believed in Him. That was all—no testimonies, no conversion stories, no teachings, and no doctrines.

We just tried to make every guest feel welcome and comfortable. We greeted them warmly, showed them around our beautiful building, joked with them, and thanked them for coming. We offered them the cleanest restrooms in all Jerusalem, and we did not require them to exit through a gift shop—because we had none. During the tours, we took them out onto the terrace for a clear view of the Old City. I nicknamed the access door as the “wow” door, as that was a common expression of most people who went out.

Our guests entered the building through the upper gate and were immediately encompassed with the light and beauty of the place. And although most of them would not describe the feeling as from the Savior, we knew what it was—they were enveloped by the sweet Light of Christ, even though we could not speak of Him.

One woman’s experience is typical of so many. She sat in the middle of the auditorium overlooking the Old City and began to weep. Later in the tour, she shared that she had been born in Jerusalem and was now a teacher in Northern Israel, near the Syrian border. She taught little children who were sometimes frightened by sounds of war. She expressed her love for Jerusalem and exclaimed that she felt peace at the BYU center like she had never felt before. The Light of the World was comforting her soul!

But What About the Light?

President James E. Faust was one of the key players in the building of the BYU Jerusalem Center. He told of a historic meeting in Jerusalem many years ago when Church leaders were trying to procure a lease agreement for the construction of the center. To obtain the lease, the Church had to promise not to proselyte. Those associated with the center—students, faculty, volunteers, and staff—have honored this pledge through the decades. President Faust reported that after the lease had been signed, a friend of the Church associated with the signing event commented,

“Oh, we know that you are not going to proselyte, but what are you going to do about the light that is in their eyes?”

He recognized the basic goodness of the students who, although not perfect, were visible and active in the community and were striving to live as they knew they should. They were being a light unto the world.

Light Can Shine in Small and Simple Ways

I returned from my first mission in the fall, just in time to begin college. The following summer, I went to Fort Ord, California, for an eight-week service school as assigned by my military unit. Life had been busy, and I had been very public about my religious convictions. I now made a conscious decision to take a bit of a break for the summer as I attended the school. Oh, I would not abandon my standards and beliefs but would just lay low and not be too visible. It could be said that I planned to “hide my light under a bushel” for a while.

After driving from my Utah home to Fort Ord, I found a barracks where I could spend the night and be ready for check-in to the school early the next morning. At the appointed time for the initial formation, I strategically positioned myself at the back row, center of the company of about 80 soldiers. The senior drill sergeant emerged from the office and stood in front of the formation. The first words out of his mouth were my name and instruction for me to come front and center and take my place as the “acting drill sergeant” of the company, as several of the professional cadre had taken their leave and had left them understaffed. I was completely shocked. So much for that “light-under-a-bushel” thing. The only reason for my appointment was that I had one more stripe on my sleeve than did the other participants, as they were just fresh out of basic training.

During the coming weeks, I climbed a very steep learning curve as I sought to master the skills of command—marching the troops to and from classes, assigning and supervising guard duty, supervising barracks cleanliness, dealing with racial tensions, and all the other matters that came at me like a flood.

After a few weeks, a young man—I will call him John—approached me one evening after our training and said he would like to ask me a question. He inquired simply and directly, “What’s different about you?” My half-joking reply was, “Well, as you can see, I have not been to drill sergeant school.” John replied, “No, not about that. You don’t swear, you don’t smoke or do drugs, you don’t go to the same places the others go on weekends, you treat us with respect, et cetera.” I sensed his seriousness and replied with my own form of directness, “John, we have about six weeks left together. It will take that long for me to answer.” He consented to my invitations.

We joined with another member of our Church and found a small room apart from the language and distraction where we could talk. We gave him a copy of The Book of Mormon and invited him to read and pray. We invited the missionaries to come and teach him.

After the end of our training, John walked me to my car and said goodbye. I shared my testimony with him one more time and then returned to college, and he and his family went on about their tour of military duty. A few weeks later, I received a letter from him that he had been baptized. A few months later came the sweet news that he had baptized his wife. A year or so later came news of their sealing in the temple. And then we lost connection with each other.

Over a decade later, a friend of mine was telling me about her work in the membership department of the Church. I thought of John and asked if she could help me reconnect. She said that they could not give me his information but that they could forward mine to him. A few weeks later came a welcome phone call from him. After a review of our lives, I asked what he was doing in the Church. He replied that he was in his second year of service as the bishop of his ward. What happiness I had to reconnect with John,

“And what added more to [my] joy, [he was] still [my brother] in the Lord.” Alma 17:2.

Welcoming Rays of Gospel Light

We live in a dark and ever-darkening world where we face a daily deluge of opinions and misinformation rooted in the philosophies of men. Our Savior is “the” Light of the World. You and I are “a” light of the world.

We show our light by holding up the Savior and His gospel to the world. In doing so, we need not be truer than true or “run faster than [we have] strength.” (Mosiah 4:27)

We show our light by striving to be good and keep the commandments we have been taught. We do so by using our God-given gifts and talents to serve and love others to the best of our abilities. As we do so, the world is made better as more souls come into the welcoming rays of gospel light and follow the path to eternal life.

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