… let your light shine … – Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 5:16 NIV
I remember the moment clearly. A spanking new student teacher, I stood in front of a classroom for the first time. Perhaps I was a bit nervous. I don’t remember. What I do remember is, at that moment, a light went on inside me—and has never gone out.
I’d found my calling—the purpose for which I was created—and joy flooded my soul.
The road to that moment wasn’t easy. Growing up in the shadow of a gifted and popular older sister, I struggled with self-confidence and wormed my way through an identity crisis before the term was even coined. It didn’t help that I looked and sounded like my older sister Judy (I didn’t think so, but everyone else did).
In school, teachers wondered why I didn’t get the grades Judy did. And I wondered why my classmates didn’t like me as much her classmates liked her. Mine mockingly called me “Miss Popularity.” When we got older and the boys started coming around—not for me, of course—I found it to my advantage that our voices sounded alike over the phone.
It wasn’t until college—and nearly a hundred miles from my hometown, where no one knew Judy existed—that I finally found myself. I didn’t have to bask in anyone else’s light. I was free to shine my own.
But old habits die hard. In the let’s-mock-Michele years, I’d learned it was better to hide in a corner than risk attention if I let my light shine too brightly. People have a way of putting you in what they think is your place—and it isn’t to outshine them. I found that if I was too good at what I did, people would get envious and not like me. And I wanted to be liked. Besides, I thought hiding in a corner, not letting my light shine, was being humble.
Is that why God created me? Or you? To hide in a corner? Has He not given each person at least a seed of talent that we are to develop and use for Him (Matthew 25:14–30)? And hasn’t He given each of us a special place in His kingdom? A unique job to do? And hasn’t He given us what we need to accomplish that job? (1 Corinthians 12:7; Ephesians 4:7-13)
“You are the light of the world,” He said.
Wait a minute—isn’t Jesus the Light of the World? Yes, He is. But His physical presence is no longer on this earth. Instead, He shines through each of His followers, who are to take His light to a world where moral decay and selfish lifestyles create an ever-increasing darkness.
We are not to hide the light He has put in us under busyness (the jar/vessel in Luke 8:16 represents work) or beneath idleness (the bed). Nor are we to bury the special abilities He has planted in us.
So don’t be afraid to let your light shine, Child of God. That’s why He created you.
Dear God, let Your light shine in and through me. Amen.
Read and reflect on Matthew 5:14–16.
From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea, Vol. 3, © 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.