If someone were to ask me what the primary purpose of a window was, I would probably say that, although a window may serve many purposes, its primary purpose is to let light in. Natural light. Sunlight. Stained-glass windows let some light in, but the light is dimmed, discolored, distorted—and gorgeous.
I saw some stained glass this past weekend, and I was caught off guard by how pretty it was. I mean, I stared at it long enough for me to realize that I had been staring at it a long time. As I stared my mind began to race as I thought about how incredible having stained-glass windows in my house would be. I thought about how each piece was colored and then pieced together to form one window. Then I thought to myself, Wait a minute…those are pretty and all, but they kind of stink as windows. Practically speaking, sure they let some light in, but not as much as a clear window. And besides, I’d hardly be able to see out of the darn things! And this is when the gears really started to turn.
If someone were to point to a window and ask, “What do you see?”, how would you respond? Well, if it’s clean, clear, and doing its job correctly, you should not see the window at all; you would likely begin describing what you see outside the window, the light and all that it reflects. If you were looking at a stained-glass window and someone were to ask you the same question, you would likely begin to describe the window. You would continue to gawk at the beauty of that window and what it does to the light. Rarely would you describe the light itself and all that it reflects outside the window.
When we “confess with [our] mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in [our] hearts that God raised him from the dead” (Romans 10:9) we are saved. And although we will serve many purposes, if Jesus is “the light of the world” (John 8:12), then we (Christians), should be the windows through which people are seeing Him. We become windows to the Light. Our primary purpose is to show others the Light. Too often we try to be stained-glass windows. They’re what people want. They’re attractive, they’re cool to look at, they’re whatever. We add our colorful presuppositions into Scripture, we add colors of justification, we may add a hint of fear or maybe even some entitlement to create this hodgepodge that we then try to piece together into one window. But at this point, although we may look more attractive to others, we’re not nearly as useful. The Light is dimmed, discolored, distorted. What people need is a clear window. A window clean, clear, free of anything to detract from its primary purpose. A window to see the Light and all that it reflects. The Light shines brightest when we stop trying to look pretty and start being completely transparent.