By Milly Smart
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. Matthew 5:15-16
Light isn’t particularly generous. It doesn’t strive to shine on people. It doesn’t make a conscious decision to pour itself out. Giving itself is not an optional extra, which some days it chooses to do and some days it doesn’t because it doesn’t really feel like it. Giving itself is its whole function and purpose, nothing more, nothing less.
We are called to be light. We shouldn’t hide it, but instead, put it on a stand so that it gives light to ‘everyone in the house’ and to let it ‘shine before others, that they may see [our] good deeds and glorify [our] Father in heaven’ (Matthew 5:15-16). We need to indiscriminately show the ‘God-colours’ of this world, in the way that we live, because ‘God is not a secret to be kept’. I tell hilarious stories all the time, and I immediately update people when great things happen to me. How often do I rave and excitedly exclaim about the hope that is within me, or the God who saved me?
“Light consistently and unfailingly shines on everything it touches.“
The Message gives us three clear next steps for living this generous light-giving life.
- ‘Shine’! Be like the light; let the overflow of love, joy and peace radiate from you, changing the atmosphere for everyone around you.
- ‘Keep open house; be generous with your lives’. I have recently discovered hosting dinner parties (I know, I’m suddenly a grown up, aged 25) and I love it! The preparation and excitement, planning what my guests will enjoy and how to ensure that the evening is a time of relaxation and laughter. But I want my house, and my life, to be open always, to everyone. You may not have the option of opening your house, but we all have things in our hands which can be shared; time, energy, talent, money and even words of encouragement. The main thing we all have to share is the gospel.
- ‘Opening up to others’. Share the big things as well as the small talk. Share the parts of your testimony when God spoke light into the darkness. When we are open, it helps others open up and let God, our generous Father, shine in.
Light is generous. It shines in all directions on everyone and everything. It doesn’t make a difference how much darkness there is; light will reach into every part of it and illuminate what was once hidden. It consistently and unfailingly shines on everything it touches, changing everything about the landscape and situation. Giving itself is its whole function and purpose, nothing more, nothing less. So how can you be light today?