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Light up your world!

November 1, 2023

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?
  • Scholar William Barclay wrote, people “are to see our good deeds. In Greek there are two words for good. There is the word agathos which simply defines a thing as good in quality; there is kalos which means that a thing is not only good, but that it is also winsome and beautiful and attractive. The word which is used here is kalos.” ** Prayerfully choose one appealing way you’ll shine your light in the weeks ahead.

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 Steve Langhofer

Steve Langhofer

Steve Langhofer retired from serving as a Care Pastor at Resurrection in 2021. He now continues to serve part-time overseeing the church's “Pathways to Ministry” program, guiding and encouraging people interested in becoming pastors. (He is also the "big brother" of Recovery Pastor Tom Langhofer.)

What makes my light shine?
Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 NRSV)

Some days that’s easier said than done. But all of us succeed occasionally. I feel God’s light shining in me every day, but not everyone can tell. Let me name some of what goes on inside that makes me shine.

When I know God loves me, no matter what!
When God helps me discern what is important and what is not.
When someone feels safe enough in my presence to open their heart.
When God gives me just the right words.

When I trust God knows what God is doing.
When colleagues and friends say, “We’re sure glad you’re still hanging around!”
When I remember how much my Mom and Dad loved me.
When my little brother comes up and gives me a hug.

When my kids still love me despite my imperfections as a father.
When my wife leans her head on my shoulder.
When God makes my fear disappear.
When I remember Jesus believes in me enough to share his ministry.

When I can love myself, making it so much easier to love my neighbor.
That’s when I’m shining.

God’s light shines in me every day. Some days people even catch a glimpse of it.

© 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.
** William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Gospel of Matthew—Volume 1 Chapters 1–10 (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1976, p. 125.