You’re to be light, bringing out the God-colors in this world. – Matthew 5:14 (The Message)
When I ran into an old friend in the supermarket—seems like the grocery store has become the social center of today—we spent several minutes chatting and getting caught up. We’d been in a young mothers’ Bible study together years, actually decades, ago, and such shared experiences kind of cement the bond we women have, even though time and life have a way of leading us on separate paths.
“What have you been up to?”
“How are the kids?”
“You look great!”
Somewhere in the conversation, I said, without thinking, “If we’re not in the center of God’s will, we’re going to be restless and miserable.”
Immediately I sensed I’d crossed a line. I thought about my statement the whole way home, hoping I hadn’t offended her.
While I believe the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19–20) is given to every believer, and thus is my duty, too, I’m not bold—some would call it being “pushy”—when it comes to what we Christians call “witnessing.” While there are those who just seem to have a gift for telling a perfect stranger about Jesus, I’m not one of them—unless I sense God’s nudging. Words on paper, OK. Face-to-face, huh-uh. I’m too much a chicken. “Preach the gospel at all times and, if necessary, use words” is more my style of evangelism.
But, even in that capacity, I wonder if I’m doing the job right. After all, I’m only human, and I fail every day. And such failures are the reasons why non-believers accuse us believers of being hypocrites. “I’m not a saint—I’m a sinner saved by grace,” “I’m not perfect, just forgiven” aren’t excuses or reasons to allow myself to blatantly disregard what God has told me in His Word.
But like the apostle Paul, “when I want to do good, I don’t; and when I try to not to do wrong, I do it anyway” (Romans 7:19 LB). Hence I have no right to judge others.
Yet I have this wonderful life God has given me (John 10:10), a guidebook to life on earth (2 Timothy 3:16–17), a beautiful-beyond-description home in heaven awaiting me (John 14:2), and the key to it (1 John 5:11–12). Shouldn’t I share this knock-your-socks-off story with others?
Yes. In the words of the late Pirate announcer, Bob Prince, there is nooooooo doubt about it. After all, James says, a faith without works is a dead faith (James 2:18). “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22).
And doing what it says is to live my life so that all that I do is pleasing to God, letting His light shine in and through me. “I’m putting you on a light stand,” Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:15–16 (The Message). “Now that I’ve put you there . . . shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
A magnifying glass makes things look bigger than they really are, like other folks’ faults. A prism, on the other hand, bends the light passing through it, breaking it up into a rainbow of colors that showers those nearby.
Dear God, let me not be a magnifying glass, but a prism. Amen.
Extra Tea: Read and meditate on Matthew 5:13–16