Ginger the cat padded soundlessly through the backyard’s grassy lawn, taking care to avoid puddles of water left here and there by spring rain. It was dusk, her favorite time of day. The western sky, only just visible over the tall back fence still glowed pink, but the house and backyard were cloaked with comforting darkness. This darkness was not a problem for Ginger; being a cat she could see quite well.
Sniffing the air, Ginger savored the spring fragrances, her slowly shedding warm winter coat shielding her from the cold wind blowing through the yard. She placed her right paw on a leaf but quickly jerked it back when the leaf buzzed.
Now everyone knows that leaves do not buzz, so this was a mystery that Ginger simply had to investigate. Crouching down, she pointed her ears at the leaf and with her night vision was able to see a small brown head poking out. It was a beetle.
"What are you doing under this leaf, little beetle? I thought that beetles came out at dusk and flew around?"
“I’m hiding,” answered the little brown beetle.
“Really? And why are you hiding?”
The beetle glanced backwards under the leaf, then hesitantly looked back at Ginger, “I’m hiding because I’m embarrassed.”
Ginger rested her fury chin on her paws. “Why are you embarrassed, little beetle?”
“Umm, it’s because my bottom’s glowing,” whispered the beetle shyly.
“Oh!” exclaimed Ginger, trying so very hard not to laugh. “You’ve just hatched, have you?”
“Ah, yes. Just a little while ago,” answered the beetle.
“Well, I’ve got good news for you,” began Ginger, “you do not need to worry about your bottom glowing. You see - you are a firefly. Your bottom is supposed to glow.”
“But I don’t want to be teased by the other bugs! Look what they are doing to my brother up there!” protested the beetle.
Ginger looked up and saw another firefly flitting through the air, his rear end glowing with a gentle yellow light. Turning her ears in that direction, she could hear the mosquitoes, flies, and some black beetles taunting him. They were saying things like this:
“Hey, Glowbutt! Come and shed some light on me!”
“Don’t look now, but your bottom’s on fire!”
“Look everyone, it’s Lightning Butt to the rescue!”
Ginger looked back at the firefly hiding under the leaf. “You know, little firefly, you have nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact, you should be proud!”
The beetle lifted his young head cautiously, “Why?”
“Because,” continued Ginger, “you are the light of the world. God put His light in you so that you can shine in the darkness and show everyone how beautiful His light is. Not for you to hide it under a leaf where no one can see it. So be proud of your light, and don’t take any notice of those silly bugs that get a kick out of teasing little ones like you. Now, look back at the sky. What do you see?"
"Mostly I can see my brother, glowing in the dark."
"That's right!" agreed Ginger, "Pretty special, isn't he? All by himself he is lighting up the darkness, driving it away. Now imagine that there were two of you..."
The firefly crawled out from under the leaf and looked up at his brother flying this way and that.
Ginger smiled encouragingly and added, “And you know, if you go out there and proudly display your light for all to see, I think you’ll see something else very special happen too.”
“Okay, I’ll do it! I’m not ashamed any more!” said the firefly. He opened his shell, popped out his wings, and soared boldly into the night sky.
Suddenly other leaves tipped over and six more fireflies that had been hiding flew into the darkness, following their brother.
Ginger stood up and stretched as only a cat can while enjoying the beautiful light show being performed by eight little fireflies.
* * *
Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV) “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.
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