Which is more valuable: the candle that has been untouched, its wick unlit or the candle that is burned down to a mere stub, its wick now missing in action from faithful service? A carnal, commercialized mind will be quick to stamp a higher price tag on the former, due to its pristine appearance borne of its inutility and newness. Besides, how on earth could that worn, melted, ugly thing be worth more than its brand-new counterpart?
Well, it is.
The crown that we place on the new candle ought to be a wreath of shame. How dare that candle, given the unique ability to grant hope and sight to those in a dark world keep its talent to itself? Those doomed to darkness thought that God didn’t care enough to light their path and so they wrote Him off – when in fact, He sent the perfect vessel to get the job done, but that candle was selfish.
It did not want to die to self. It did not want to be consumed. It walked amongst the suffering and blind, knowing it could make a difference, but refused. And while that candle thought it was doing itself a favor, it was actually doing itself a disservice. This foolish candle, crafted for one purpose – to light the world – was reprimanded thoroughly when the Craftsman returned.
“You helped no one. You were useless to Me and ignored My direct orders. Every chance you had to live out your purpose, you cast it aside, thinking only of yourself.”
Now, the pristine, foolish candle was taken aback by the Craftsman’s words. But it wasn’t long before the candle thought: “If the Craftsman was upset with me, let’s see how He handles the Ugly Candle. Look at it – all mangled and disgusting.”
The Craftsman took the Ugly Candle in His hands and was stunned to silence. After collecting His thoughts, He uttered two words: “Well done.”
What the Pristine Candle didn’t comprehend was the beauty of sacrifice. The Ugly Candle consistently disregarded its own welfare for the good of those around it. And it is by that measure alone that the Craftsman deemed it more valuable.
We are thrust neither into the same sphere of existence as the Pristine Candle, nor are we thrust into the position of the Ugly Candle. The Craftsman crafts and leaves the choice in each person’s hands. And while the majority would prefer to lay low and live as they please as the Pristine Candle, the more joyful existence is of servitude as the Ugly Candle.
In Jesus’ name, you are the Ugly Candle.