“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” – Jesus [Matthew 5:14-16]
I memorized Matthew 5:16 almost thirty years ago as part of working through the Topical Memory System when I first became a believer. I always kind of assumed that “letting your light shine” meant doing all the good deeds, modifying my behavior, dressing, acting, speaking a certain way – you know, the way Christians are supposed to act.
Lately I’ve been contemplating these words of the Christ and it has occured to me that He says to let your light shine so that people can see your good works – that is, that the good works are not the light shining itself, but that the light shining is revealing (I think) the motive and intentions of what I do and why I do it. Subtle difference? Semantics? Maybe – but there is something profoundly different about “letting your light shine” if it doesn’t mean anything concerning our behavior.
So I’m left with the question of what it means to let your [my] light shine? I think it has something to do with my attitude, with my personality, with my temperament, with the motivation for why I do the things I do.