Let your light shine
In Matthew 5:14, Jesus pays His followers an incredible compliment. He tells us that we are the light of the world. He tells us that we bring to this world a vital quality that people are in deep need of.
Light is essential for vision. We need light if we want to see what is around us or before us.
According to The Physics Classroom, “The bottom line is: without light, there would be no sight. The visual ability of humans and other animals is the result of the complex interaction of light, eyes and brain. We are able to see because light from an object can move through space and reach our eyes…. If you were to turn off the room lights for a moment and then cover all the windows with black construction paper to prevent any entry of light into the room, then you would notice that nothing in the room would be visible. There would be objects present that were capable of being seen. There would be a brain present which would be capable of deciphering the information sent to it. But there would be no light! The room and everything in it would look black. The appearance of black is merely a sign of the absence of light. When a room full of objects looks black, then the objects are not generating nor reflecting light to your eyes. And without light, there would be no sight.”
In a dark room, our inability to see something may not be the absence of its presence but the absence of light to reveal its presence. In a dark world, our inability to see God may not be the absence of God but the lack of light to reveal His presence.
If you were to be submerged deep enough into the ocean—beyond the reach of the sun’s rays—you would find a world of sea life in absolute darkness. But you would also find a myriad of creatures who can see because of the miracles of bioluminescence (the ability in certain organisms to generate and emit light through chemical reactions with oxygen) and biofluorescence (the ability to reflect the blue light hitting a surface and re-emit it as a different color, or as a glowing color). Deep sea creatures can see and/or be seen because a light-emitting or light-reflecting force has been designed into them. Even in the depths of the dark sea, life is revealed by the light that lives within these creatures.
Because of the darkness of this world, people cannot see God. They doubt His existence. They rail against God. But, perhaps, the issue is not the absence of God but the absence of light by which God can be seen. That’s where you and I come in. Jesus claims that a light-emitting or light-reflecting power has been set within His followers. According to verse 16, as people see our good works, they see the light that shines within us, and they see God. Madeleine L’Engle points out, “We do not draw people to Christ by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.”
When we love people, when we contribute to the well-being of this world, when we comfort the hurting, when we stand up for the less fortunate, and when we do what is good, we reveal the light of Christ within us, and people are drawn to God.
No wonder Jesus stresses that our light should not be hidden under a bushel basket but that we should let our light shine. As Christ’s bioluminescent and biofluorescent ambassadors to this dark world, we should let Christ’s love and goodness be seen by all.