“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matt 5:16
This is probably the best single call to… leadership, self-development, vocation, Christian living, Christian influence and the abundant life.
Coupled with the Great Commission at the end of Matthew, this passage leaves no doubt what Jesus’ desire for our lives is. He wants us to live, work, and minister in amazing ways that will make people feel blessed and where they will take notice, experience great joy, and want to just praise God for having encountered our “good works.”
I don’t know where you are at in your struggles or successes, but the highest high and the lowest low is equalized framed as potentially linked to this call to “shine.” This simple call to “Let your light shine” is a call to be SHINING ANYWHERE.
Ellen White writes ”
” Jesus does not bid the Christian to strive to shine, but just to let his light shine in clear and distinct rays to the world. Do not blanket your light. Do not sinfully withhold your light. Do not let the mist and fog and malaria of the world put out your light. Do not hide it under a bed or under a bushel, but set it on a candlestick, that it may give light to all that are in the house…. God bids you shine, penetrating the moral darkness of the world.” Our High Calling 297.3
Here is the call to authenticity, genuine ministry, and also a call to duty–because implied in this quote is the call to buck against the debilitating trends and moral disease that threatens your light. It is to live on the side of “YOUR” light.
This is what makes Christianity counter-cultural. It has both the call to natural, fluid, native ability and authenticity, but also a call to work, a new kind of effort. In the previous verses before this call to shine is the call to work as seen in vs 14 and 15:
“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.” (Mt 5: 14, 15).
Cities take work to build. They also take more work to maintain, to keep healthy. So what. It is a necessary labor. This call to shine as a city on a hill is a call to remember that on a cold night a wavering stranger or a returning daughter or son, down the distant valley, sagging with a wayfarer’s heart, will see the city, and rejoice. Even before they get there, their hope fills up with this vision of a place for food, shelter, conversation and love.
So the call to Christian influence–whatever form that influence takes–is a call to so live and so work that others are ministered to so deeply and blessed so well that they can’t help but thank God and praise him.
Good works and effort doesn’t have to be legalistic. It can be a simple settling in to our call–our purpose–our light. YOUR LIGHT.
We are all called as Christians to have influence, to be the ones who live well and in the process sweeten, or rescue, or heal, or inspire, or share the burden of….another. People will be thankful to God for your good works.
The call to Christian influence includes the call to lead. As Maxwell reminded the world: “Leadership is influence. Nothing more and nothing less.” My Caveat is that focusing on leadership may be took restrictive for the magnanimous plans of God. We are called to influence regardless of how that happens. I would suggest if leadership was a circle in a VENN diagram, it would be an overlapping smaller circle to the larger circle of Christian influence. Sometimes influence happens even more when you are a good follower–as a department administrative assistant taught me so well.
The cool thing about “Let Your Light So Shine” is that it is soooo adaptable to multiple situations. You can lead and have influence. You can follow and have influence. You can be quiet and have influence. You can speak up and have influence. You can wash cars and have influence. You can do brain surgery and have influence. You can even be hated, persecuted, mistreated and even crucified… and still have amazing influence.
In fact, that is the point of Jesus. Shine. Just shine–regardless of what you face and where you face it–and you are going to turn hearts toward Him. In fact, sometimes the way we manage our suffering is what brings such a sweetness in our own lives that it becomes a soothing smell to others.
That is how I felt today when reading about a faithful Catholic mother near Dallas Texas who, for decades, took care of her fully paralyzed son. Ann McClamrock let her light shine from her small Dallas house. After losing her first husband to cancer, her second husband and her had to learn how take care of their 17 year-old son who had a tragic football injury in the 1970s. She was told to put the son in a care facility but she brought him home and ministered to him for decades. Then she lost her second husband and her son by a previous marriage. But despite those blows she kep ministering to her bed-ridden son.
I see the light of Jesus shining strong through this women. AMAZING. READ one version of the story here.
So, the invitation to Christians to shine is a universal call. Like the Great Commission to “go into all the world,” the call to shine is global imperative… and a great way to live a life.
God: Help the reader of this message know the hill they are to shine from and stand where their light needs to be placed.