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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How to let your light shine before men

Our oldest son shared this recent incident from his life. It seems he was
communicating with a friend of his who claims to be an atheist. He had a
problem with a Christian organization and was somewhat put off by the
attitude of the representative of the group. Our son counseled him on how he
might approach the situation. After the friend thought about the advice from
our son he replied, "You know, if you keep that up, you just might give
Christians a good name."

I use the Words of Jesus found in Matthew 5:16 quite a bit. In that place he
said, "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see
your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." They are good words, but
they almost seem to be in conflict with his words found in other places. In
Matthew 28:18-20 we are told to GO and teach.

Often we lay a huge amount of guilt upon people if they are not active in
some outreach program of congregation. Yet the scripture clearly says that
we each have different (and equally important) gifts or abilities (Romans
12:3-8). There is nothing wrong with encouraging everyone to reach out to
others, but again what others are trying to do may not fit you or your gifts
or abilities.

Now the whole thought is a little broader in Matthew 5:15-16, notice those
words: "Don't hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and
let it shine for all. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all
to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." What is the
meaning of these words or what point is Jesus trying to make?

I believe the message is that we simply need to do whatever we can do to
show people Jesus through our daily living. Not everyone can preach, not
everyone can teach in a formal setting, not everyone can knock doors to
share Jesus with other people. But, everyone can shine! Isn't that what a
light is supposed to do?

We have no right to use our lack of ability, gift or talents in one area to
refuse to try and share Jesus with others. Some folks do that, they just sit
in the pew and say, "I can't do that." What can you do? Can you shine?
That's what Jesus asks us to do, to shine! Live your life in such a way that
people see him in your life and give glory to God because of the way you
shine! Who knows, you might just give Christianity a good name!
Russ Lawson

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