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Letting God's light shine through us

August 8, 2022

Daily Scripture

Matthew 5:14-16

14 You are the light of the world. A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on top of a lampstand, and it shines on all who are in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Jesus used one of the Bible’s most potent symbols when he called his followers to be “the light of the world.” “At the beginning of the biblical narrative, physical light springs forth as the first created thing (Genesis 1:3–4). At the end of the story the light of God obliterates all traces of darkness: ‘And night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light’ (Revelation 22:5). Between these two beacons the imagery of light makes nearly two hundred appearances.” *

  • Jesus said, “A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden.” He meant for his followers’ actions to be visible and attractive. But that visibility was not a way to gratify ego, unlike the PR campaigns we see aimed mainly at acquiring fame, money or market share. Jesus said we let our light shine for a specific reason—so that people who see what we do will praise God. If our ultimate purpose is to lead people to praise God, how must that shape our efforts to make our church’s actions visible?
  • On a personal level, who has been a light in your life? What have you learned about living as a disciple who shares God’s life-changing light and hope from their example? Who do you know whose life you could brighten by specific choices as Jesus’ disciple? Pray about this and choose one specific step you can take to bring the light of God’s love and hope into their life this week. (For specific ideas about how to add more light to your life and those of others, click here.)

Lord Jesus, in this darkened, lonely, hurting world, make me more and more transparent so that your light can shine out of me like a beacon, spreading love, grace and peace. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Brent Messick

Brent Messick

Brent Messick is retired now, but was formerly Church of the Resurrection’s Managing Executive Director of Operations.

(Brent wrote this reflection for us in June of 2020. We’re grateful he continues to share with us during his retirement–he’s scheduled to write again in November.)

When you go shopping for light bulbs, do you pay any attention to the lumens or watts? Or do you just pick up a package of bulbs and go?

As you probably know, lumens and watts are measures of brightness in light bulbs. There are many different types and strengths of light bulbs. But they all have one purpose: to shine light before people.

I am probably overthinking it, but I try to get the light bulb that provides the right amount of light to fit the room or fit the occasion. I might put a 40-watt light bulb on a nightstand lamp for reading purposes. Or a 75-watt light bulb for a small room. Or a 100-watt light bulb to fill a larger, open living room. Different ways to shine the light.

Today’s Scripture passage reminds us that we are all human light bulbs to shine our light before people so that we can glorify God. The strength of our light can vary depending on the occasion. Your light can shine when helping a neighbor, or donating to pop-up food drives, or singing in the church choir or playing in the orchestra, or serving on a mission trip, or peacefully protesting social injustice, etc. There are so many opportunities to shine your light. But your light bulb has to be turned “on”, and not burned out or turned “off.”

Are you a 40-watt light bulb? A 75-watt bulb? Or a 100-watt bulb? Or maybe you are a 3-way light bulb depending on the service opportunity. Whatever wattage of light bulb you are, your light is a blessing to the community.

(On a side note, here’s an adaptation of the old joke, “How many retired CFO’s does it take to change a light bulb?” Just one. Yes, I can change a light bulb all by myself!)

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Article “Light” in Leland Ryken, James C. Wilhoit and Tremper Longman III, general editors, Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998, p. 509.