For 2 and a half years in high school and college I worked at a pair of video rental stores. It’s still one of my favorite jobs I’ve ever had.
There were a lot of perks when I worked at the video store. Free rentals. Getting new movies before they were released. Easy access to giant tubs of buttery popcorn.
The most underrated perk of the job? Free movie posters.
Every month we’d get a new shipment of movie posters to plaster in the windows of the store promoting the coming attractions. Whenever new posters came in the old ones came down. Before they went in the dumpster these old posters were fair game for any of the employees to take home.
To a college kid this was a jackpot. My walls were covered by posters for “Batman Begins” and “Wallace and Gromit” – high art to a 20-year-old.
While some posters hung inside the store, a lot of them were displayed facing the outdoor windows. These posters were meant to draw in passersby to come check out the hot new releases.
But the longer these posters hung in the window, the more faded they would become. The sun would shine on them directly. The once crisp colors would slowly dissipate.
I swear if we left a poster out there long enough it would just turn white. That’s how powerful the sunlight’s effect was on fading these posters out.
Usually the posters which faced the outside window would wind up in the trash. They had lost their appeal with how faded out they were. No one wanted to hang these damaged posters on their walls.
Being overexposed to the light wasn’t great for movie posters at the video store. But I think it’s exactly the type of way we’re supposed to live our lives.
I believe we are supposed to live our lives exposed to The Light. And the longer we expose ourselves to Him and allow His light to shine on our lives the more transformed we will become.
That’s a scary proposition. It means the identity we’ve spent so much time crafting for ourselves must fade away.
So sometimes we turn our backs to the light. Or we only step in front of it for a few moments before heading into the shade, trying to keep some sense of self intact.
This is the challenge we face when following Christ. Are we willing to expose ourselves to the light and have our own image stripped away until we bear His? Or are we more concerned with protecting our own image that we shy away in fear of fading out?
If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light. (Luke 11:36)
The ultimate goal ought to be for The Light to penetrate through every part of our life. The longer we let His presence shine on us the less we’ll resemble ourselves and the more we will bear the image of The Light.
I want to be like a video store movie poster. I want to be faded by The Light until I am unrecognizable from my original self. I want to be stripped of my selfishness and consumed by His presence – faded to white and shining in the darkness.
(I wrote this post in honor of Video Store Day which is Saturday October 17th. If you’ve got a local independent video store still standing in your area do yourself a favor and check it out on the 17th or any day really. I really think it will be an experience you’ll be glad you revisited. You can find a listing of stores across the world on this site.)