I love my dog. I really do. But there are times when loving him requires me to do something I hate. Like getting out of a nice warm bed in the middle of the night because he needs to go outside and take care of some business.
Thankfully this rarely happens.
But when it does, I really love my neighbors.
Yep. You read that correctly.
On those rare occasions when I have to venture outside with Cody in the wee hours of the morning, I step out the door and take about six steps down the driveway and all of a sudden that entire side of my house and yard is illuminated—thanks to my neighbors’ motion-activated floodlight on the corner of their house.
THAT’S why I love my neighbors.
Walking around outside in the dark is not the safest thing to do. But the light shows me where it’s safe to step and whether or not there are any critters Cody and I need to steer clear of.
In today’s verses (Matthew 5:14-16), Jesus tells His followers that THEY are the light of the world. Which means WE are the light of the world.
He goes on to say that light is not supposed to be hidden. And that light is positioned strategically so it helps as many people as possible.
You weren’t made to be hidden or covered up. You have a very important role to play and a big difference to make in your corner of the world—just like the motion-activated floodlight on the corner of my neighbor’s house.
Do you remember the last time the power went out and you were suddenly stuck in the dark? What happened when you lit a candle or turned on a flashlight? Did it take a while for the light to overcome the darkness? Was there a contest to see who would win?
No. Light is light. It doesn’t have to fight to be light. It naturally displaces the darkness. And the darker the darkness, the bigger the difference just one little light can make.
You don’t have to fight darkness to be light. You ARE light in your world because of Who is inside you—Holy Spirit!
Jesus goes on to tell us HOW we “shine.” You shine where God puts you through your moral excellence and your noble and praiseworthy and good deeds. That lifestyle causes people to realize that there’s something different about you. And their response is to recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father in heaven.
The purpose of your light isn’t to make people talk about how great you are, but to capture their attention and help them realize Who’s your daddy and how great HE is! I don’t go up to the floodlight on my neighbor’s house and tell it how wonderful it is and how much I appreciate it. I know who put it there and who keeps it shining.
One of the most important characteristics of light is that it reveals truth. Just like the floodlight keeps me from falling in a hole, stepping on a snake, or slipping on ice, your light reveals things in your world for what they really are. That kind of light helps people get on the right path and find their way Home.
And that’s the mission of our lives. We are to “shine” wherever God has strategically placed us by the way we live our life. And the people who notice the difference our life makes should recognize God as our Source. Then He gets all the honor and praise and glory.
So we need to quit trying to hide our light or downplay its importance or downsize its reach or deny that we even shine! Time is short and there’s a lot of darkness that needs dispelling. And in case you need reminding—that’s part of OUR job, according to Jesus!
“YOU are the light of the world.” – Jesus
Now I need to go write a thank you note to my brilliant neighbors!
Matthew 5:14-16 Living Bible (TLB)
You are the world’s light—a city on a hill, glowing in the night for all to see. Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father.