‘You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.’ (Matthew 5:14–16)
A light is something which is meant to be seen. That we are Christians is something which is meant to be seen, and it should be perfectly visible to all, not only to those within the Church. Our Christianity should be at least as visible in our ordinary activities in the world: in the way we treat a shop assistant across the counter, in the way we treat our employees or serve our employer, in the way we play a game or drive a car, in the language we use. A Christian should be just as obviously a Christian in the gym, the school, the college, the university, the kitchen, the playing field as they are in a church building.
Jesus did not say, “You are the light of the Church”; he said, “You are the light of the world.”
A light is a guide, something to make clear the way; therefore we must show the way to others and be an example. Many people don’t have the moral strength and courage to take a stand by themselves, but if someone gives them a lead, they will follow; if they have someone strong enough to lean on, they will do the right thing. It is our duty to take the stand and to give the lead which those with less courage will follow. The world needs its guiding lights: there are people waiting and longing for a lead to take the stand and to do the thing which they do not dare do by themselves.
A Christian should be just as obviously a Christian in the gym, the school, the college, the university, the kitchen, the playing field as they are in a church building.
When Jesus commanded his followers to be the light of the world, he was not demanding that they should produce their own light but that they should reflect him, who is the light of the world (John 8:12). We can do this by following his example of showing goodness and love to those around us; obeying his commands (Matthew 5–7 is a good starting point); and by living in his power and growing in his grace, through the presence of Christ within our hearts.
Andy Tugwell, The Church of God in Swindon