This Gospel is the similes of salt and light. Jesus tells us we are salt and that we must keep our flavor in order to stay useful. He says we are the light of a city on a high mountain. We are also a lamp that doesn’t belong under a bushel basket, rather on a lamp stand to illuminate the room. Finally he tells us that our light is for others to see and draw them closer to Christ. There are three distinct pieces of verse 16. First, our light must shine before others. Second, they may see our good deeds. Third, they will glorify our heavenly Father. Let’s break these down.
“Your light must shine before others.” To me this means don’t be shy. Sometimes when I first meet people I am a little quiet. Especially in groups of new people, I prefer to observe rather than converse. New places, situations, and people make me very nervous. Once I’m comfortable, I never stop talking. I’m very silly and I love to dance, sing, use accents, and just be goofy. God has given me a very high energy personality that many don’t see. I often put my light under a basket. Please be encouraged today that all the little quirks about your personality are gifts from your Creator. He gives them to you on purpose and for a purpose, so use them always. We should be who we are around all people, in all places, and through all situations. This is how we become authentic human beings. Don’t change who you are based on the things or people around you.
“That they may see your good deeds.” Don’t be boastful. The risk I tend to run when it comes to this, is I sometimes end up like the Pharisees praying out loud for others to hear and calling attention to myself when I do something good. But we still have to recognize that we need to do some good things for others to see. There is a balance between healing the lame in the name of Christ and not telling your left hand what right hand is doing. The key is to find that balance. While looking for it in many real life situations I have come up with a few questions to ask myself. Who am I doing this for? If I am doing something for Jesus, truly for Jesus, then it is a good thing and should be done. If I am doing it for someone else, then why am I doing it for them? Sometimes I do things for people that seem like they need a little extra sparkle in their day. Sometimes I do things for myself. In these cases I’m putting on a show of kindness for my own vanity. These moments need to be snuffed out quickly. The second question I ask myself is, does Jesus want this? Sometimes when we do things for others, it can still be a bad thing. Asking myself whether or not something would please the Lord makes me humble, puts Christ in my heart and helps me to discern his will. All that we do needs to include the Lord and at times he wants people to see what we are doing to call others to him.
God uses the acts of love and service we do for others to draw us and them closer to him. Think about some of the people that have had an impact on you spiritually, they probably were loving and serving neighbor in a way that you saw Christ. All that we do should glorify God and eventually people will start to wonder where your joy, hope, and peace come from. These are the perfect opportunities to share how the love of Jesus has transformed your life. After sharing, God may be doing a work in their heart that will call them closer to him. It is essential that people see us glorifying God so they, too, can come to know, honor, and serve him.
My prayer for us today is that we will be the light that shines. Don’t be afraid of the person God has made you to be. Instead, allow the gifts he has given you to flourish and grow so that they may bear fruit in others. Imagine yourself as the sun shining on a fruit bush. Your light does not depend on if the plants need you or not. In the same way who you are is not dependent on the people around you. Rather, the light of the sun is dependent upon its Creator as you are dependent upon your Creator. The plants see the sun and grow strong and bear fruit. Your witness must allow others to grow strong in light and begin to bear fruit. It is through living in, with, and for the Lord each day that we glorify him.