You are the light of the world. A town built 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 others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
What did Jesus mean when he told his disciples, “let your light shine before others?” Many winters ago, after four or five inches of snow (before snow blowers were common), I felt an impulse to shovel a neighbor’s driveway. They often left early for work leaving tire ruts firmly packed and frozen by the time they arrived home. This particular time, the snow was wet and heavy, but I was determined to shovel.
As I reflect back, it was a good deed definitely, but how bright was my light shining? Without leaving so much as a note, I drudged home through the snow feeling satisfied. I hoped to give them a welcome relief at the end of their hard day, and I think it served its purpose—but in a limited way.
Jesus continues, “that they may see your good deeds.” Certainly, helping neighbors with shoveling is a good thing. But, when they know who does the good deed, they have the opportunity to see what makes us tick, to become curious. And that may lead them to ask us why we do things for neighbors. Leaving a note would be a way of shining the light a lot longer.
Finally, Jesus ends this verse with “and glorify your father in heaven.” That is, glorifying God is the aim of our good deeds. When we let the Spirit shine through us, this is the natural outflow. Of course, I have no idea if my neighbor praised God for my shoveling. But without taking action, I know there is no chance. So I ask, how can you shine a light so that others want to know more about the God we serve? Is your light shining brightly and continuously?
In 1 Peter 3:15 we read, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” Prepare a summary of your spiritual journey that led you to Christ. Share it with everyone who asks you about the deeper meaning of life. .
Grab your printout if you did that yesterday or your Bible, and mark all the repeated words and note contrasts.