“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
Several years ago, we sat down and discussed a mission statement for our family. While we had tossed the idea around numerous times we had never intentionally sat down to bring it to fruition. As I sat at our kitchen table, the one where our family of five sits together at dinner to discuss our days, our hopes, our hurts, and our plans, I reflected on the words that made up our family’s mission.
The words that caught my attention and held me there for several hours were committed, follow, honor, grow, give, put, serve, strive, love, and support. What is the commonality in each of these? They are verbs –action words. They indicate intentionality and without the action behind the words the definition will not hold true. Can I say that I am going to follow if I stand in one place? What would give mean if nothing was actually received by someone? Would growing mean growing if there was no visible change or production of fruit? The answer to these questions should be obvious to us. An action word without an action is simply a statement that in reality most likely means nothing.
The last sentence on our family’s mission is a declarative statement saying that “We will be a light in a dark world.” Making a statement like such requires action and a plan. It takes not only intentionality or accountability. Regardless of how well-intentioned we may be as a family, there are still many times that each of us falls short. In these moments, we ask one another a simple question … Are you being a light in a dark world? If the answer is no and I’m sorry then we revisit the actions by which as a family, we are to share the love of Christ with others. How can we better commit, follow, honor, grow, give, put, serve, strive, love, and support better next time? We use this mission statement to solve problems, dissolve disagreements, direct, correct, and reroute. It’s our commitment to the purpose that we were placed here for.
Friends – as followers of Christ we are to be the light of the world. While I think that this might possibly look different for each of us according to our individual spiritual gifts, there is really only one way that the follow-through of our actions can be genuine. It must come from no other source than our genuine love, devotion, and surrender to the Almighty God. Our light shines not to light up ourselves and our good deeds. Our lights shine, as Matthew says, “so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven.”
It's not about us. It’s about allowing God to use our lives to bring Him honor and grow His Kingdom. Could he choose to do it without us? Of course, He can –He’s God, and He can do anything. But what a blessing and honor it is to be used by the one that created the world that we live in today.
We are the light of the world. How are your shining your light to others today –what does this look like for you? What are the actions that you take to be a light? I encourage you today to examine what this means for your life. Are you being intentional with your words and deeds so that others see them and pat you on the back or is your intentionality for the sole purpose of pointing others toward the glory of God?
As you walk into this new week, consider each day to be a gift that God has given you to go out into the world and shine your light for HIM.
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