Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (NLT)
I so needed this reminder. Lately I haven’t felt like much of a light. However, Jesus says that I am a light — not could be or even should be — being a light is a reality. The question is, what kind of light will I choose to be?
Erwin McManus has a challenging quote (and I’m paraphrasing it here) — “Make it your goal to leave a person better than when you met. . .”
I know in Girl Scouts, youth group and such, our leaders said to leave the campsite better than when you found it; leave the picnic area better than when you found it; leave the school gym, the Sunday School room, cleaner than when you found it because that would encourage the owners to invite you back. It would save the church, the scout troop, the youth club from embarrassment. It’s a good goal; it’s one that I taught my children; it’s a goal that I have personally.
But to leave a person better than when we met . . .a whole new level of responsibility. Am I an encouragement, or am I more concerned with getting my troubles sympathized? Am I positive? Do I exhibit and express the faith that I say that I have, or am I a verbal worrier, wanting another’s assurance before I am “ok”? Have I listened, or have I been internally planning my speeches while waiting for a “jumping in” place in the conversation? Am I really “there,” or am I easily distracted by my cell phone or my watch?
So, what does all this have to do with “works?” How does being a light relate to good works? This verse came to mind. . .
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 ESV)
What if we started to think and believe that some of those good works that God has prepared for us beforehand, are our interactions with different people? I’m not saying that people are just projects or things by any means. Actually, I’m contending that people are so important that God has prepared us beforehand for “divine interactions.” We can be a light by giving encouragement to someone who is visibly sad, and choose to spend the time rather than do other things. Being a light is caring for children (even our own) with a joyful heart, not a frazzled one who would rather be anyplace else but there. “There,” for the mom of young children, is the exact place for the good works that God has prepared beforehand for her to do; there is no more important place to be.
Being a light is being like Jesus. Noticing people. Encouraging. Challenging without demeaning. Sharing in sorrow. Rejoicing in victories. Taking time. Giving a smile. Being polite and kind. Being with people.
Even though my light shines more through the computer keyboard on email than in person, God has good works for me to do. He knows where I am. He made me; He knows how much I can do. Godly interactions with the people in this world who God loves so much that He gave His only Son are good works.
Can you see my little light shining?